Stoner and Capirossi take charge in Istanbul

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Factory Ducati duo Casey Stoner and Loris Capirossi dominated this afternoon’s second free practice session at the Istanbul Park circuit in Turkey.

Stoner, who claimed his one and only rookie MotoGP campaign podium in Turkey last season, was in a startling form as he clocked the best time with an impressive best of 1.54.200.

Capirossi was second quickest but he ended up a massive 0.779s adrift of the Aussie, who shrugged off a crash this morning when he lost the rear end of his Marlboro-backed Ducati GP7.

The Ducati pair were the only two to dive under the 1.55 barrier as lap times dropped considerably in much more favourable conditions to this morning.

Track temperature was up by 17 degrees to 35 this afternoon and the session was dominated by Bridgestone, with John Hopkins continuing his good 2007 form when he claimed the third fastest time with a best of 1.54.979.

Bridgestone riders set six out of the seven best times with the only Michelin runner getting in contention being former world champion Valentino Rossi.

The Fiat Yamaha rider was fourth fastest but 0.9s behind Stoner’s best.
Bridgestone bosses will now be hoping to avoid a repeat of last year’s disastrous race.

Impressive throughout qualifying with Chris Vermeulen taking pole position, the tyre performance deteriorated badly in the 22-lap race and best finisher was Loris Capirossi in sixth.

Stoner was in charge of the session from the moment he jumped to the top of the timesheets 20 minutes in with a 1.55.604 lap.

On his next lap he was 0.4s faster and at one stage he was over a second clear of the field.

Veteran Italian team-mate Capirossi made a welcome return to form after his disappointing start to the season with second, but it was another nightmare for compatriot Marco Melandri on the Gresini Honda.

His fragile confidence with the front end of his struggling new RC212V was hardly helped when he lost the front at turn one this morning.
Disaster struck again this afternoon when just 10 minutes into the session he lost the front again.

Like this morning he was top of the timesheets when he crashed out, eventually slumping to 10th ahead of American Kenny Roberts Junior.

The session was briefly red flagged after 23 minutes when Shinya Nakano crashed his Konica Minolta Honda at Turn 13.

His bike came to rest in the middle of the track forcing a short stoppage, though the Japanese rider walked away unhurt and finished way down the timesheets in 18th with only Dunlop Yamaha rider Sylvain Guintoli slower.

Nicky Hayden’s troubles continued this afternoon too as he was only 14th fastest, a massive 2.11s behind Stoner. Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa was ninth.

Free practice No. 2 results:

1 Casey STONER Ducati Marlboro Team DUCATI 1’54.200
2 Loris CAPIROSSI Ducati Marlboro Team DUCATI 1’54.979
3 John HOPKINS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP SUZUKI 1’55.062
4 Valentino ROSSI Fiat Yamaha Team YAMAHA 1’55.120
5 Toni ELIAS Honda Gresini HONDA 1’55.158
6 Olivier JACQUE Kawasaki Racing Team KAWASAKI 1’55.651
7 Chris VERMEULEN Rizla Suzuki MotoGP SUZUKI 1’55.707
8 Alex HOFMANN Pramac d’Antin DUCATI 1’55.736
9 Dani PEDROSA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 1’55.865
10 Marco MELANDRI Honda Gresini HONDA 1’55.910
11 Kenny ROBERTS JR Team Roberts KR212V 1’56.071
12 Randy DE PUNIET Kawasaki Racing Team KAWASAKI 1’56.225
13 Alex BARROS Pramac d’Antin DUCATI 1’56.233
14 Nicky HAYDEN Repsol Honda Team HONDA 1’56.312
15 Colin EDWARDS Fiat Yamaha Team YAMAHA 1’56.320
16 Carlos CHECA Honda LCR HONDA 1’56.555
17 Makoto TAMADA Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 1’56.923
18 Shinya NAKANO Konica Minolta Honda HONDA 1’56.936
19 Sylvain GUINTOLI Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 1’57.245



Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt