As rain restricts night test at Losail
The MotoGP riders will be hoping for better conditions on the second two days of the MotoGP Official Night Test at Losail International Circuit on Monday and Tuesday, following a difficult first evening at the desert track.
unexpected rain on Sunday morning and during the evening session, combined with relatively cool track temperatures and sand on the asphalt meant the going was difficult under the state-of-the-art Qatar floodlights, with most riders finding their work schedules restricted by the conditions.
The test commenced at 6pm local time, with Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen setting down a 2'01.843s marker early on. That time was not bettered until the last hour of the session, after a heavy downpour at 7pm interrupted the proceedings for an hour and the slippery surface slowed the riders down.
Late on the riders were able to push that bit harder and Ducati Marlboro newcomer Nicky Hayden finished top of the timesheet with 2'00.717 effort registered in the final hour of the outing.
There was good news for Marco Melandri too, making his first 2009 test appearance he was the first rider out on track at the start of the evening, with the newly formed Hayate Racing Team, and he ended up second quickest overall, marginally slower than his Ducati replacement Hayden with a best time of 2'00.867.
The top five was completed by Pramac Racing's Mika Kallio, San Carlo Honda Gresini's Alex de Angelis and Kallio's colleague Niccolo Canepa, who all beat Vermeulen's early best effort late on, as several of the MotoGP big guns stayed in their pit-boxes.
Fiat Yamaha pair Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo completed just one lap each, whilst Dani Pedrosa did not undertake a meaningful lap. Casey Stoner and Loris Capirossi's names, meanwhile, were absent from the timesheet.
Pedrosa elected not to take any risks with his left knee still not completely healed after an operation in December. Likewise, Stoner is yet to re-test the condition of his left wrist which hindered him last season and which was also troubling him at Sepang in the first test of the year after his corrective surgery in November.
MotoGP Official Night Test at Qatar - Day One
1. Nicky Hayden, Ducati Marlboro Team - 2'00.717 (29 laps)
2. Marco Melandri, Hayate Racing Team - 2'00.867 (31)
3. Mika Kallio, Pramac Racing - 2'01.020 (27)
4. Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Honda Gresini - 2'01.074 (15)
5. Niccolo Canepa, Pramac Racing - 2'01.328 (21)
6. Chris Vermeulen, Suzuki MotoGP - 2'01.843 (5)
7. Yuki Takahashi, Scot Racing Team - 2'03.221 (18)
8. Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda - 2'03.233 (15)
9. James Toseland, Tech3 Yamaha - 2'03.417 (6)
10. Randy De Puniet, LCR Honda MotoGP - 2'03.580 (14)
11. Colin Edwards, Tech3 Yamaha - 2'03.652 (5)
12. Toni Elias, San Carlo Honda Gresini - 2'08.637 (3)
13. Jorge Lorenzo, Fiat Yamaha Team - 2'24.832 (1)
14. Valentino Rossi, Fiat Yamaha Team N/A (0)
15. Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda N/A (0)
16. Casey Stoner, Ducati Marlboro Team N/A (0)
17. Loris Capirossi, Suzuki MotoGP N/A (0)