Stoner back ahead in practice three

Sat, 01 Oct 03:30:07 2011

Casey Stoner led the way as Honda's domination continued in third practice for the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi.

A 1m46.542s lap put the championship leader on top early in the session, and after a quick trip through the gravel, he improved to 1m46.162s five minutes later.

Only Stoner himself would look capable of beating that time, as his team-mates Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso, and Gresini's factory-Honda equipped Marco Simoncelli, battled for the runner-up spot.

Dovizioso finally took it with a lap 0.139 seconds off Stoner's pace right at the end. The Italian had been as low as eighth until some rapid late runs got him ahead of Pedrosa and Simoncelli.

Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo was 0.647s down on Stoner in fifth, and still facing a weekend of desperately chasing the Hondas. Lorenzo's team-mate Ben Spies was in much better shape after yesterday's illness and took sixth.

Valentino Rossi showed encouraging form on the Ducati to grab seventh from Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista right at the end. The second Ducati of Nicky Hayden was just 0.2s slower in ninth, as Pramac Ducati's Randy de Puniet completed the top 10.

Honda guest rider Shinichi Ito managed just seven laps before sliding to the ground at Turn 3. He was unhurt in what proved to be the session's only fall.


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