STONER QUICKEST IN QATAR OPENING SESSION, MELANDRI MAKING PROGRESS Casey Stoner laid down an early marker in the opening free practice session for the Grand Prix of Qatar, dominating the time sheets throughout. His team-mate Marco Melandri...
STONER QUICKEST IN QATAR OPENING SESSION, MELANDRI MAKING PROGRESS
Casey Stoner laid down an early marker in the opening free practice session for the Grand Prix of Qatar, dominating the time sheets throughout. His team-mate Marco Melandri picked up where he left off in the test here, using the first hour to immediately get onto the same pace that he'd set just over a week ago.
Slightly warmer temperatures compared to that test and the sand that has blown onto the circuit since then made for a slippery surface, which made life difficult for the Ducati Marlboro pair, who are both confident of making major improvements.
CASEY STONER - fastest in FP1: 1'55.870
"Finally the first race is here and it feels good to get out there and see what everybody is really capable of. I've been looking forward to today for a while because to be honest I've got a bit sick of testing. Anyway, it was good to get going - the bike itself felt good from the start but for some reason the overall feeling wasn't as good as it was at the test and I'd put that down to the slightly different track conditions. There wasn't as much grip and lot of riders were crashing today, much more than at the same time during the test, so it seems everybody is struggling with the same problem. The first session has basically just helped us to decide which way to go with the setting so we'll tune both bikes in to the same set-up for the second session and from there we'll be able to really make some progress with the tyres and address the grip issue."
MARCO MELANDRI - 11th fastest in FP1: 1'57.137
"I'm satisfied with how things have gone in this first session because I've been able to get on my best pace from the test, but with using old tyres. We've started out with the best setting we found over two days here last week, with just a few small adjustments, and the bike felt good straight away. I think we're working on the right lines with this bike and we still have a lot of room for more improvement. The track was really slippery for the first few laps, much more than when we were here for the test, but then it started to improve. The temperature isn't as harsh as a week ago so we're hoping we can stay at this level."