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MotoGP: Casey Stoner ends Valentino Rossi's dominance on Friday in Qatar


by Marc Cantin ,

Casey Stoner (Ducati) ended Valentino Rossi’s (Yamaha) 2010 winter testing domination, beating him by less than 0,05 sec - yes, a whole five hundredths’ of a second - late on Friday evening in Qatar.

Andrea Dovizioso showed good form for Honda with third quickest overall, while teammate Dani Pedrosa out of the top ten at the end. MotoGP rookie Ben Spies (Yamaha) ended up an impressive 4th overall, half a second back of Stoner, followed by Nicki Hayden (Ducati), 0,8sec behind his team leader Stoner.

Loris Capirossi brought Suzuki back into contention in 6th, while Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) continued to ride carefully while recovering from a hand injury, in 7th overall.

The results tell me that MotoGP 2010 will continue to be controlled by Rossi and Stoner, in a class of their own. Assuming no injuries, they should repeat their dominating performances of 2009 (If you take out the Stoner sick leave). Yes, other guys may get into the mix by tripping over better race settings, but these riders (Dovizioso, Pedrosa, Lorenzo for example) are forced to ride too hard to stay in front consistentley, and thus fall more often.

So back to a Rossi – Stoner show, with Rossi also taking on the role of entertainer, the most important one of all for Yamaha and MotoGP! Little wonder that Bernie and Ferrari are trying so hard to get him over to F1.

I wonder if Kimi Raikkonnen’s multiple crashes will have a dampening effect on Rossi’s interest in world level rallying, a discipline that is turning out to be more difficult than anticipated by big-time racers. For my money, the greatest drivers ever might just be Walter Rhörl or Sébastien Loed, rather than the much celebrated Senna, Schumi, Jimmie Johnson or Kyle Bush, even Nuvolari and our hero Gilles V.

Qatar Official tests – Overall results
Pos. Rider Team Time Thursday/Friday

1. Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 55.353 sec [Fri]
2. Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 1min 55.402 sec [Thu]
3. Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda Team 1min 55.879 sec [Fri]
4. Ben Spies Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1min 55.954 sec [Thu]
5. Nicky Hayden Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 56.115 sec [Fri]
6. Loris Capirossi Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 56.195 sec [Fri]
7. Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha Team 1min 56.504 sec [Fri]
8. Randy de Puniet LCR Honda MotoGP 1min 56.504 sec [Fri]
9. Colin Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1min 56.540 sec [Thu]
10.Mika Kallio Pramac Racing 1min 56.767 sec [Fri]