Valentino Rossi stretched his unbeaten winter testing run to a fifth consecutive session as he beat Casey Stoner to the top spot at traditional Ducati stronghold Losail Thursday evening. The battle between the two regular rivals came to the final 10 minutes of the floodlit test before Rossi put in a 1m55.402s lap on his Yamaha to beat Stoner by 0.3sec.
Yamaha had three bikes in the top four as Tech 3 duo Ben Spies and Colin Edwards claimed highly encouraging third and fourth places. Jorge Lorenzo was seventh on the second factory Yamaha, only managing short runs due to the discomfort from his injured hand, but eventually completing 45 laps in total.
Top Honda rider was LCR's Randy de Puniet in fifth place, despite the Frenchman feeling unwell. Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa's works bikes were sixth and 10th, split by Lorenzo, Nicky Hayden (Ducati) and Mika Kallio (Pramac Ducati).
Both Suzukis were outside the top 10, with Loris Capirossi curtailing his programme due to illness.
Friday night's test will be the final chance for teams to accumulate mileage prior to the season opener – also in Qatar – next month.
Pos Rider Team Time Gap Laps
1. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m55.402s 64
2. Casey Stoner Ducati 1m55.717s + 0.315s 48
3. Ben Spies Tech 3 Yamaha 1m55.954s + 0.552s 44
4. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 1m56.540s + 1.138s 59
5. Randy De Puniet LCR Honda 1m56.588s + 1.186s 54
6. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 1m56.811s + 1.409s 65
7. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m56.838s + 1.436s 45
8. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m56.855s + 1.453s 77
9. Mika Kallio Pramac Ducati 1m56.923s + 1.521s 72
10. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m57.047s + 1.645s 60
11. Loris Capirossi Suzuki 1m57.099s + 1.697s 40
12. Marco Melandri Gresini Honda 1m57.605s + 2.203s 63
13. Hector Barbera Aspar Ducati 1m57.822s + 2.420s 62
14. Hiroshi Aoyama Interwetten Honda 1m57.888s + 2.486s 75
15. Marco Simoncelli Gresini Honda 1m57.891s + 2.489s 63
16. Aleix Espargaro Pramac Ducati 1m57.898s + 2.496s 67
17. Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 1m57.960s + 2.558s 56