Stoner in charge as weather clears

Sat, 05 Nov 10:30:17 2011

Casey Stoner and Honda resumed their usual dominance in final practice as the weather cleared up at Valencia.

After Friday's constant rain, the riders were greeted with a dry track and sunny skies this morning, allowing Stoner to hit the front early with a 1m33.348s lap.

Stoner's team-mate Dani Pedrosa inched ahead by 0.066 seconds with just over a quarter of an hour to go, but the world champion reclaimed the top spot 10 minutes later by 0.020s, and then extended his advantage to half a second next time around.

He still had more speed to come too, and a 1m32.619s on his final flying lap of the morning put him 0.663s clear of Pedrosa, with no one else within a second of the leading time.

There was a surprise in third place as Randy de Puniet (Pramac Ducati) showed he could transfer his wet-track form to the dry and beat the third works Honda of Andrea Dovizioso.

Ben Spies was fifth for Yamaha, with the Ducatis of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden sixth and eighth, split by Friday afternoon pacesetter Alvaro Bautista's Suzuki.

Hector Barbera (Aspar Ducati) and Hiroshi Aoyama (Gresini Honda) completed the top 10.

Debutant Josh Hayes fell back to the tail of the field as he got his first taste of the Tech 3 Yamaha in the dry, but was within a tenth of Yamaha factory rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga and less than 0.4s behind LCR Honda's Toni Elias.


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