Aside from Casey Stoner’s BMW Award-winning lap, the major talking point of the 45-minute session was a big crash for James Toseland that brought out the red flag. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider did not return for further laps after totaling his M1 machine, but is expected to be fit for the first race of the season in two weeks time.
Speaking on Toseland’s afternoon fall, Team Principal Herve Poncharal expressed disappointment with the setback.
“Unfortunately it was the same kind of crash today to what he had in Sepang. It hurt him. It was his first timed lap after leaving the pit with a fresh tyre. It looks like he should hopefully be ok, even though he was motionless in the gravel for a little while,” said the Frenchman.
“James was recovering well from the Sepang crash; Qatar was a big step in recuperation for him, and until the crash everything was going a lot better for him here. He was in the group in which we think that he can be and making a lot of progress.”
The satellite team made a big impact of a different kind at the 2008 Qatar round of the World Championship, with Toseland and teammate Colin Edwards on the front row. They return to the scene of that glory in a fortnight, but Poncharal has set the bar to a realistic height for his charge.
“Crashing is certainly not the best thing that you can do before starting the first Grand Prix, but we know that James is a fighter. He will be there for the first race and, even though we are not expecting to win, we will try to pick up a few points.”