Hondas still rule in Moto GP testing for next weekend’s season-opening contest under the lights at the Losail Circuit in Qatar. Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner, and Hiroshi Aoyama topped the time sheets on the first day, with the factory Yamahas of Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo not far back.
Close behind them was Colin Edwards, on the first satellite team bike.
The factory Ducatis were down in eighth and ninth, Valentino Rossi just edging his team-mate by 1/10th of a second. Rossi had his first crash on a Ducati, which he joked about:
"We worked well on the settings, even if in a couple parts of the circuit I’m still not fast enough, and we’ll have to try some more solutions tomorrow. As for the shoulder, I’m happy because I have a little more strength, and that enables me to ride better. Today I also had my first crash on a Ducati, which I naturally did intentionally because after a while, you have to do a little fall …"
Of course it’s possible that Rossi’s just feeling perky about his side job; Bridgestone tires announced Saturday that they’ve enlisted the racer as a Motorcycle Tire Development Advisor; Rossi will evaluate the company’s tires in racing, sport riding, and sport touring environments, giving the company valuable input as to how to improve their products on the street.
The Qatar race is set for Sunday, March 20.