STONER SETS EARLY PACE IN QATAR, GOOD START FOR HAYDEN
The 2010 MotoGP World Championship finally stepped into the spotlight tonight as the first free practice session for the Grand Prix of Qatar took place under the night sky of Losail.
Casey Stoner set the pace lapping
some 0.526 seconds ahead of his closest rival in a positive opening to the weekend. The Australian set his best effort on his ninth lap of seventeen, having switched bikes midway through the session due to a small technical glitch when the water hose split on his number 1 bike. However, he set a similar pace on his second machine, raising hopes of further improvement when the data is overlapped tomorrow.
Nicky Hayden made an encouraging start to his second season with Ducati, lapping fifth fastest. The American made swift improvements during the session to move up the time sheets.
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 1st (1'55.500)
"Today felt really good -- we had a similar rhythm to the test and I didn't feel to be pushing too hard. I had a really good feeling from the start and actually when we changed the setting I went faster but didn't feel as good, so we need to work on that. This is obviously a good circuit for me but we're taking things steadily. The target for this weekend is to take away some solid points and make a good start to the season. It is early days and we're not getting carried away. We set some good lap times today but everybody else will improve so we have to work hard tomorrow and make sure we stay on the pace right through until Sunday night."
NICKY HAYDEN -- (Ducati Marlboro Team) 5th (1'56.793)
"We took a little while getting going today. We had just a little bit of confusion around the tyre choice at the start - I just couldn't get a feeling for the bike for the first twenty minutes when we were on the softer tyre but when we switched to a hard tyre things picked up straight away and I was able to improve the lap times. I went about as fast as I did at the test consistently so that's encouraging. This is a good start to the season even if we have plenty of room for improvement."