The first day of a three-day test for the Ducati Marlboro Team got underway after a minor setback in Losail, where the desert landscape was hit by rain! With a scheduled start of 6pm local time, the session was interrupted almost immediately by a red flag after a light downpour, which lasted barely ten minutes. Several riders, Nicky Hayden included, got a handful of laps in before returning to join the rest of the riders watching the weather from pit-lane.
At around 9pm a group of rider representatives, including Stoner and Rossi, convened with the circuit officials to discuss the state of the track not only because of the rain but also because of the sand that had blown onto the surface beforehand. With the section between turns 11 and 12 still damp, the riders continued to wait and at around 10:30pm track action resumed, although Rossi, Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Capirossi and Stoner decided to wait for better conditions tomorrow.
Nicky Hayden completed a total of 31 laps, including the fastest of the day. As usual the American was prepared to make the best of the conditions, testing some electronic updates and a new fork.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team), fastest lap: 2'02.717 (on lap 29 of 31)
"I haven't seen rain in Qatar in all my life and I never thought I would! But today we'd barely got the bike on track and it started to come down. We had to spend a long time in the garage because even though a part of the track had dried out there was a section that stayed damp for a while. The track conditions were tricky and there wasn't much feedback, which meant we couldn't do the work we had planned. We've got a few different things to try so hopefully the weather is better tomorrow so we can get some work done."
Circuit Record: Casey Stoner (Ducati - 2008) 1'55.153
Best pole: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha - 2008) 1'53.927
Unofficial lap times 01/03/2009
1. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 2'00.717 (31 laps)
2. Marco Melandri (Kawasaki) 2'00.867 (35)
3. Mika Kallio (Ducati) 2'01.020 (29)
4. Alex De Angelis (Honda) 2'01.074 (15)
5. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) 2'01.328 (26)
6. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) 2'01.843 (6)
7. Yuki Takahashi (Honda) 2'03.221 (18)
8. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 2'03.233 (15)
9. James Toseland (Yamaha) 2'03.417 (7)
10. Randy De Puniet (Honda) 2'03.580 (18)
11. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 2'03.652 (5)
12. Toni Elias (Honda) 2'08.637 (3)
13. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2'24.832 (1)