2010 Qatar Test Day 2 Times - Stoner Beats Rossi, Dovizioso And Hayden

Casey Stoner finally managed to break Valentino Rossi's stranglehold on testing on the final day at Qatar, the Australian putting his Marlboro Ducati on top of the timesheets early on, and only occasionally ceding the lead to the Fiat Yamaha man. The Australian was fast throughout the session, not even a minor crash slowing Stoner down.

Despite finishing half a second down to the rider he has annointed as his main challenger, Rossi pronounced himself happy with the way the test went, telling GPone.com that he believed the new Yamaha M1 had proved it was competitive at Qatar. The Italian also tested some tires for the 2011 season; after testing a hard front  in Sepang, Rossi tried the softer compound 2011 front tire at Qatar, but revealed he did not believe it represented a huge leap forwards.

Another surprise in the top three on Friday was Andrea Dovizioso. The Repsol Honda rider took nearly a second off his time from Thursday to get within a couple of hundredths of Valentino Rossi. Dovizioso and LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet are the only two riders who seem to be getting along with the new Ohlins suspension which graces the RC212V, the other riders all complaining of a lack of feeling from the rear. Dovizioso's teammate and Repsol Honda lead rider appears to be the chief victim, managing only the 13th fastest time on Friday, over a second and a half slower than his former 250cc nemesis Casey Stoner.

While Honda suffers, Ducati's fortunes are on the rise, with Nicky Hayden once again making a big leap forward to set the 4th fastest time of the day. Hayden has struggled with getting the Ducati dialed in at some tracks, but a year's worth of data is starting to pay dividends for the American, as Hayden is getting up to speed more quickly and more often.

Hayden's speed came with a fall, the Marlboro Ducati man going down just as his teammate did later on in the session. In fact Hayden's crash triggered an almost literal domino effect, with the two other Americans in the series going down at the same place - Turn 2, where the moisture had been forming on the track - within 10 minutes of the Ducati rider. Neither Hayden, Colin Edwards or Ben Spies suffered any serious injury, and all were back riding to complete the session.

Like the man ahead of him, Loris Capirossi also showed a huge improvement on Friday, dropping nine tenths of a second to leap up into 5th, ahead of Jorge Lorenzo. Capirossi's improvement was indicative of better things all round for the Rizla Suzuki squad, Alvaro Bautista registering a similarly huge 1.1 second improvement in his time to leap up to 12th.

Jorge Lorenzo finished the day in 6th, telling GPOne.com that his injured hand prevented him from going much faster. Despite his position, he was pleased with both the bike and his own progress, and is hopeful of being stronger and in less pain once the MotoGP paddock reconvenes in Qatar in three weeks' time for the season opener.

If Ben Spies' 3rd fastest time from Thursday caused a tidal wave of speculation that the Texan may be the next Alien, Friday's more modest 10th fastest time will have dampened such ardour, putting Thursday's times into perspective. Both Tech 3 men were slower on the second day of the test, Colin Edwards adding two tenths to his time while Ben Spies lost over 0.8 seconds from his time on the first day. Spies time on Thursday puts him in 4th position when taking the times from both days into account.

The riders will now head home for three weeks, to study the data collected over the past couple of days and prepare for racing in earnest. All seventeen men will be back here in three weeks' time, when the season finally gets underway again, after what has become a seemingly endless off season.

Times from the second day of testing at Qatar, courtesy of MotoGP.com:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev Laps
1 27 Casey Stoner Ducati 1:55.353 0.000   51
2 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1:55.860 0.507 0.507 57
3 4 Andrea Dovizioso Honda 1:55.879 0.526 0.019 66
4 69 Nicky Hayden Ducati 1:56.115 0.762 0.236 51
5 65 Loris Capirossi Suzuki 1:56.195 0.842 0.080 58
6 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1:56.504 1.151 0.309 44
7 14 Randy De Puniet Honda 1:56.504 1.151 0.000 66
8 5 Colin Edwards Yamaha 1:56.722 1.369 0.218 48
9 36 Mika Kallio Ducati 1:56.767 1.414 0.045 74
10 11 Ben Spies Yamaha 1:56.779 1.426 0.012 44
11 41 Aleix Espargaro Ducati 1:56.897 1.544 0.118 64
12 19 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 1:56.898 1.545 0.001 71
13 26 Dani Pedrosa Honda 1:56.935 1.582 0.037 56
14 33 Marco Melandri Honda 1:57.222 1.869 0.287 64
15 40 Hector Barbera Ducati 1:57.223 1.870 0.001 74
16 7 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda 1:57.251 1.898 0.028 81
17 58 Marco Simoncelli Honda 1:57.379 2.026 0.128 56

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With the exception of Stoner the rest of the field is within 1,5 seconds - if this is the true image of the tight level in the class then it's an encouraging one I'd say. Roll on the first race already! :)

that's funny! What is this 'alien' thing anyway? A stupid word to describe the top 4 riders that somehow seems to have become currency.

And Spies? Obviously he was taken in by the spaceship and deposited back, as 1.4s slower than the leader obviously doesn't qualify as one of the anointed few. Or perhaps it's just testing and individual fastest laps on a circuit when you can pick and chose what time you run means little when compared to the cut and thrust of a race day.

Without doubt, Spies is the real deal. He's riding one of the best bikes in the field, has excellent data to work from and Yamaha, having gone to some lengths to secure his services are not going to hinder his progress with poor or second rate components. Let's hope he manages to stir some life into the circus that is Motogp and it becomes more than just the Rossi/Stoner show, with occasional performances from Lorenzo and Pedrosa.

Following Preziosi's remarks about the boring 2010 season ahead, Dorna-employee Valentino Rossi is suddenly slow. :-P

I guess it's kind of sad that only 1 person could beat his pace today. Casey now has the fastest time of the test.

Really happy to see that Dovi is making some headway. Now that Puig isn't calling the shots at Repsol, maybe Honda have decided to give him a look. After all, he finished in 5th place in his rookie season on a Michelin-shod satellite bike.

The times set in a test have everything to do with what a team has scheduled to work on for the day and nothing t do with how the bikes would perform in a qualifying session or race. I'm amazed at the number of people who find this concept so difficult to grasp.

I have no idea whether or not Rossi is sandbagging, I'm simply pointing out that he was conspicuously slow after Preziosi's remarks made waves in cyberspace. Preziosi actually said the season would be boring prior to Qatar.

Anyway, Rossi is notorious for playing mind games. Not that he was, but if he wanted to give Stoner a false sense of confidence, he would do it at Qatar. Casey has owned Qatar for the last 3 seasons.

I'm just pointing out that the motivation and the opportunity are present. Obviously, we don't know what is running through his head.

Whilst the primary purpose of a test is exactly that, rest assured these boys generally like to chase a time too. Stoner was only a couple of tenths off his 2009 qualifying time.

Especially at the last test before the first race, teams and riders know the whole world is watching to draw premature conclusions. They will always try to give that initial mental blow.

On motogp.com website Stoner did 1:55.353, The Doc did 1:55.402 which is 0.049 of second behind Stoner.

How is that half second Mr. Emmett?

Its unusual for The Doc 2 b so fast in tests, he is usually fast in races and this must b a worrying sign for the other riders especially Stoner and the Ducati people commented on this.

Some keep saying The Doc's success is due to tyres. In 2007 in Assen or 2008 in Laguna Seca or 2009 Catalunya or Sachsenring. Was that just tyres?

Hmm, I wonder. Must make them cringe now that the Red Missile is no longer 20kph faster.

As Rats rightly points out, the times above are for Day 2. There is a separate story containing the overall times, where you can see that, as you correctly point out, Rossi was just five hundredths behind Stoner overall. But on Friday, Stoner ran a 1'55.3 where Rossi ran a 1'55.8.  Which is half a second.

Rossi's 1:55.402 was on the first day. This report is the day 2 times at which Rossi was, in fact, half a second slower.

In combined overall times, Rossi was only .049 slower.