Casey Stoner wins BMW at Jerez
Casey Stoner has won a new BMW 135i 'BMW Sauber F1 Team Edition' sports car by being fastest during the special 45-minute 'qualifying' session, held at Jerez on Sunday afternoon.
The Australian, who called Jerez 'like kryptonite' for his Ducati despite finishing third fastest on Saturday, typically wasted no time in showing his cards - the #27 setting a scorching 1min 39.171sec (the previous fastest lap was a 1min 39.791sec by Jorge Lorenzo on Saturday) on only his third lap!
That initially put the 2007 world champion 1.4sec clear of nearest rival Lorenzo, but the fellow Fiat Yamaha of reigning world champion Valentino Rossi was soon methodically reducing that advantage - and had closed to within 0.3sec of Stoner by the halfway stage, with Suzuki's Loris Capirossi just a few tenths behind.
Stoner, who won last year's BMW session in wet conditions, returned to the track with 20 minutes to go - but was unable to improve - and the session was then red flagged following a huge accident for James Toseland (see separate story).
Ducati riders Mike Kallio and Nicky Hayden hung on to emerge unscathed from off-track moments of their own, but Stoner had no such problems and - when the session restarted - punched out the first 1min 38sec lap of the weekend to pull a further half a second clear of Rossi.
Rain, which had been threatening for most of the session, then confirmed Stoner's 'victory' with a few minutes still to run, and Casey appeared genuinely surprised as he collected yet another new BMW - once again citing how difficult Jerez has been for Ducati in the past.
Having been denied a last chance to respond, Rossi was left 0.719sec behind the Australian, with Rizla Suzuki's Loris Capirossi 1.111sec from Stoner for third. Lorenzo was left in fourth place while Chris Vermeulen put the second GSV-R fifth.
Kallio recovered from his earlier scare to post an impressive sixth fastest time, making him the leading satellite rider and rookie. Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda), Sete Gibernau (Grupo Francisco Hernandez), Toni Elias (San Carlos Honda Gresini) and Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completed the top ten.
The two day Jerez test will now end with a normal session running from 3.15-6pm, marking the last track action before the racing season begins at Qatar from April 10-12.
BMW qualifying session
13. de Puniet
15. de Angelis