Casey Stoner - Photo Credit: Repsol Honda

Casey Stoner - Photo Credit: Repsol Honda


Casey Stoner will head to Qatar as favourite to win the opening race of the 2012 MotoGP season after topping the timesheets on the final day of testing at Jerez. The World Champion trailed Jorge Lorenzo for much of the day but clocked a 1:38.780 in the final 15 minutes to lead the Yamaha rider.

Lorenzo finished just under two tenths of a second behind the Honda and after the teams worked on race simulations during the afternoon, it appears that the championship protagonists are closely matched on pace.

Dani Pedrosa was third fastest on the second RC213V with the Spaniard's race pace looking very similar to Lorenzo's while Ben Spies concentrated on the set-up of his Yamaha before going fourth. Cal Crutchlow's impressive winter continued and the Briton will carry genuine hopes of a top six finish to Qatar after going fifth fastest, the best of the rest behind the expected championship contenders.

Ducati will take encouragement from the performance of Valentino Rossi on Sunday with the Italian going sixth fastest. Rossi's main complaint through the winter has been his inability to carry as much corner speed as he would like and although Ducati don't appear to have completely solved the issue, they do seem closer to the pace than they were this time last year.

Andrea Dovizioso took the second Tech 3 Yamaha to seventh ahead of Nicky Hayden who struggled with traction issues while Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl rounded out the top ten on their satellite Hondas.

Unsurprisingly, the Aspar team led the CRT pack with Randy de Puniet virtually matching the fastest time set by Karel Abraham on the Ducati GP12 while the two Avintia Racing bikes brought up the rear, 4.1 seconds down in the case of Yonny Hernandez.

The next time MotoGP bikes will turn a wheel in anger will be during first practice for the Grand Prix of Qatar. The Checkered Flag will have full coverage of MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 throughout the season and keep an eye on the website for season previews dedicated to each class in the run-up to the race.


MotoGP Official Test (Jerez) – Day Three Classification

Pos Rider Bike Team Time/Gap
1  Casey Stoner Honda Repsol Honda Team 1:38.780
2  Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Yamaha Factory Racing +0.173
3  Dani Pedrosa Honda Repsol Honda Team +0.377
4  Ben Spies Yamaha Yamaha Factory Racing +0.715
5  Cal Crutchlow Yamaha Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +0.805
6  Valentino Rossi Ducati Ducati Team +0.953
7  Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +1.080
8  Nicky Hayden Ducati Ducati Team +1.139
9  Alvaro Bautista Honda San Carlo Honda Gresini +1.237
10  Stefan Bradl Honda LCR Honda +1.318
11  Hector Barbera Ducati Pramac Racing Team +1.507
12  Karel Abraham Ducati Cardion AB Motoracing +1.799
13  Randy de Puniet (CRT) ART Aprilia Power Electronics Aspar +1.821
14  Aleix Espargaro (CRT) ART Aprilia Power Electronics Aspar +2.865
15  Danilo Petrucci (CRT) Ioda Aprilia Came Ioda Racing Project +3.146
16  Franco Battaini Ducati Ducati Team +3.277
17  Colin Edwards (CRT) Suter BMW NGM Mobile Forward Racing +3.293
18  Mattia Pasini (CRT) ART Aprilia Speed Master +3.404
19  Michele Pirro (CRT) FTR Honda San Carlo Honda Gresini +3.432
20  James Ellison (CRT) ART Aprilia Paul Bird Motorsports +3.657
21  Ivan Silva (CRT) FTR Kawasaki Avintia Racing MotoGP +3.666
22  Yonny Hernandez (CRT) FTR Kawasaki Avintia Racing MotoGP +4.126