Last gasp Lorenzo tops the times in FP3

After trailing Casey Stoner in the opening sessions Jorge Lorenzo topped the timesheets in FP3 ahead of the season opening Qatar Grand Prix.

The night session was illuminated by some thrilling on track action with Cal Crutchlow setting the fastest time in the closing minutes before Lorenzo usurped his fellow Yamaha rider.

For Crutchlow the opening two days of action have surely been of huge encouragement to the former World Supersport champion following a trying rookie campaign last year. With Tech 3 having hired Andrea Dovizioso there is immense pressure on Crutchlow for this year to perform but he has looked very surefooted aboard the 1000cc machines throughtout the weekend.

For Lorenzo this was an important session to top. With Stoner having led the way in the opening two 45 minute sessions it was imperative that Lorenzo gave his rival something to think about overnight.

Both Lorenzo and Stoner are two of the mentally toughest competitors in the paddock and it is highly likely that Sunday’s race will come down to battle between the pair. Gaining a mental advantage ahead of qualifying could be key for Lorenzo if he is to claim a second premier class victory inQatar.

Even though he ended the session third Stoner will in all likelihood be unperturbed. Since joining Honda last year he has had a quiet confidence that shines through when on the bike and when it matters he has routinely delivered pole positions.

Against expectation the Yamaha and Honda are both performing very similarly inQatarthus far meaning that in qualifying Stoner is likely to face a challenge to earn the pole position tomorrow.

Andrea Dovizioso completed a strong day for Tech 3 with the fourth fastest time and with Yamaha holding three of the top four times it is clear just how competitive their bike is this weekend.

Dani Pedrosa overcame his FP2 crash to set the fifth fastest time as he continues to ease himself into the weekend. The former 125cc and 250cc champion hasn’t been able to match the speed of the pacesetters so far this weekend but with his quick starts it would be very unwise to underestimate him for the rest of the weekend.

Hector Barbera followed up his superb FP2 showing with another top six time. The satellite Ducati rider once again outpaced the factory riders-Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi ending the session seventh and eighth.

The only blip for Yamaha in this session was Ben Spies. The American had an off track excursion and a crash in the opening half of the session and ended with the 11th fastest time, the only MotoGP bike slower was Karel Abraham.

Randy de Puniet and Colin Edwards continued to set the pace for the CRT bikes but the Frenchman crashed at the end of the session and limped away from his ART bike.

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