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Marlboro Ducati's Casey Stoner has predictably set the fastest time during today's first free MotoGP practice at Qatar, going four-tenths of a second quicker than arch-rival Valentino Rossi with a 1'57.053 lap.

The pair are in a class of their own at the desert track, with Monster Yamaha's Colin Edwards three-quarters of a second slower than the Australian and Jorge Lorenzo, in fourth, is more than a second off the pace.

The formidable Aussie started the 45-minute night session as he meant to go  on, setting fastest lap after fastest lap, and only Rossi and Edwards could get anywhere near him.


At one point, Stoner was a massive 1.21s in front of The Doctor who, in turn, lead Edwards by a further half a second and it wasn't until the dying minutes of the session that both Yamaha men upped their pace

Rossi's Fiat Yamaha team-mate Lorenzo spent a good deal of the session outside of the top ten until he caught a tow from Rossi and pulled his time down to 1'58.272.

Rizla Suzuki's Loris Capriossi was also a late charger, hauling himself up to sixth from mid-table with moments left while Britain's James Toseland had to settle for 11th place after being as high as sixth with just eight minutes to go.

Marco Melandri is inside the top ten, just behind Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso, however Alex De Angelis is the leading Honda in fifth placewith a 1'58.452 lap.

Nicky Hayden is a massive 2.1s slower than his team-mate while the injured Dani Pedrosa is slowest on a 2'01.435. Sete Gibernau was around five seconds slower than Stoner until he found some pace and pulled himself up to 16th. The Spaniard is still 3.5s adrift.
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