Stoner fastest in practice

Updated: 22 April 2007 16:51 IST

Casey Stoner predicted that his Ducati Desmosedici GP07 would not be at its best on the Istanbul Park track in the third round of the MotoGP championship.

Stoner fastest in practice

Istanbul:

Casey Stoner had predicted that his Ducati Desmosedici GP07 would not be at its best on the Istanbul Park track in the third round of the MotoGP championship.

However, if the form in Friday's free practice was anything to go by, the Australian was somewhat wrong in envisaging a struggle in Turkey.

Stoner, currently second in the championship and nine points adrift of championship leader Valentino Rossi, showed stunning pace in setting the fastest lap time of one minute 54.200 seconds in the afternoon session.

All four top speeds were recorded by Desmosedici-equipped riders - Stoner's best on Friday was 298.6 kilometres per hour, nearly six kilometres per hour quicker than the fastest non-Ducati bike on the track.

Stoner's team-mate Loris Capirossi of Italy set the second-best time, 0.779 seconds behind.
Rizla Suziki rider John Hopkins of the USA was third, a further 83 thousandths back.

Valentino Rossi never seems to be far off the pace, though. The Italian, who leads the championship after two rounds, took it easy in the morning when the track was still wet after overnight rain.

In the afternoon, he lapped less than a second slower than Stoner, setting the fourth-best time.
Istanbul is one of the few tracks on which Rossi has yet to taste victory.

World champion Nicky Hayden is hoping for a good result in Turkey after struggling in Qatar and Jerez.
But the US rider endured another unhappy day on Friday, ending the afternoon session down in 14th place, over two seconds slower than Stoner.

Only one man in the field has previously won a premier class grand prix on the Istanbul track, Marco Melandri having taken the chequered flag in both 2005 and 2006.

But the Italian Honda rider appears to be finding the circuit a different proposition on 800cc machinery, suffering minor crashes during both sessions on Friday. One man happy with his day's work, though, was Casey Stoner.

Spaniard Alvaro Bautista, last year's 125cc champion, took provisional pole for Aprilia in the 250cc first qualifying.

In the 125cc category, Italian Mattia Pasini took provisional pole, also for Aprilia, with Hungary's championship leader Gabor Talmacsi second.

Topics : Formula 1
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