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The final MotoGP 2010 pre-season test completed
Valentino Rossi concluded second his pre-season
Mar. 22, 2010

Losail Tests, Day One
All Yamaha riders performed well!


Reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi continued his domination of the pre-season testing program in Qatar today, finishing the opening day of the final test 0.3 seconds ahead of Casey Stoner. His team-mate Jorge Lorenzo made a welcome return from injury to finish the day a creditable seventh and with Ben Spies third and Colin Edwards fourth, it was four Yamahas in the top seven.

Testing began at 6 pm under the floodlights at the desert track and Rossi was in command from the word go, finding yet more improvement in the 2010 M1 at what is not generally one of his best tracks. A break for dinner saw both Stoner and Spies better his time but the Italian was determined to finish the day on top and improved again on his last run to regain first place.

Lorenzo missed the last test after breaking his hand and he was unsure how much strength he would have today, but the 23-year-old Spaniard was happy to find himself in better shape than expected and he steadily improved all night. He found the hard braking areas the most difficult but he was able to ride well enough to continue with his interrupted testing regime, and he is hopeful of further improvement tomorrow.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo Ben Spies and Colin Edwards produced dazzling performances under the Losail International Circuit floodlights in Qatar tonight.

Spies was in sparkling form to post a best time of 1'55.954 that secured him a stunning third place on the timesheets. Earlier on a balmy night in Doha, Spies had topped the timesheets for a brief period in the six-hour session that ran from 6pm to midnight.

What made the reigning World Superbike champion's performance even more remarkable was he'd never ridden under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit before. Yet Spies finished just over 0.2s behind circuit specialist and triple Qatar race winner Casey Stoner (Ducati) with Valentino Rossi once again quickest on his factory Yamaha YZR-M1 machine.

The 25-year-old was forced to finish early after a crash at the second corner in the final hour while using a hard compound Bridgestone front tyre. But he declared himself delighted with progress in his 44-lap stint.

Fellow Texan Colin Edwards was equally impressive in fourth position after he posted a best time of 1'56.540 in a 59-lap stint. Edwards continued to fine-tune the race-set-up of his YZR-M1 machine, working on Yamaha's new swingarm and Bridgestone's new hard compound front tyre.

Test Times (Mar. 18)

(Ambient temperature: 22 degrees Track temperature: 25 degrees Humidity: 20%)

Pos. Rider Team Machine Time
1 V. Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha 1'55.402
2 C. Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team Ducati 1'55.717
3 B. Spies Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1'55.954
4 C. Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1'56.540
5 R. de Puniet LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 1'56.588
7 J. Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha 1'56.838

Losail: Record Lap C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1'55.153
Losail: Best Lap J. Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2008, 1'53.927

Losail Tests, Day Two
Rossi and Lorenzo conclude pre-season with 2nd and 6th


The Fiat Yamaha Team riders concluded their pre-season preparation this evening with another strong performance in the humid Qatar night, Valentino Rossi finishing second and Jorge Lorenzo sixth. This was the last time the riders will be on track before the first race, back at the same circuit in three weeks time.

Rossi concentrated largely on finalising his race preparation today, also finding time to try a new tyre compound for Bridgestone. The Italian completed 20 laps in a long run late in the evening with the aim of gathering more information for the race, which will help the team during the practice sessions when they return here. He set his best time of the day earlier in the evening, slightly slower than his time from yesterday, and finally had to settle for second behind Casey Stoner. The Italian has been fastest on five out of six test days this year however and he and his crew are now looking forward with confidence to the first race.

Lorenzo continued to make progress and to push as hard as his injured hand would allow, the Spaniard managing to test some new electronic settings amongst other things and improve on his time from yesterday. He still felt some pain in the hard braking areas and needed to take a painkilling pill, but he was happy to finish sixth in the circumstances and is confident that he will be back to full strength in time for the race.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team end its pre-season preparations for the 2010 MotoGP world championship in high spirits on a hot and humid night at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar. With humid conditions reducing grip levels from the opening night, both Colin Edwards and Ben Spies were unable to improve their times tonight.

The Texan pair were still able to carry out some valuable testing on the set-up of their Yamaha YZR-M1 machines and also assess a range of soft and hard compound front and rear Bridgestone tyres ahead of the first race under Qatar's spectacular floodlights on April 11.

Edwards ended tonight's six-hour session with the eighth fastest time, a best lap of 1'56.722 less than 0.5s away from the top five. Spies was just two places further back in 10th with a best lap of 1'56.779. That was less than 0.1s away from Edwards' pace.

Spies' best lap of 1'55.954 from the opening night was still good enough to secure him a top five place on the overall timesheets and boost his confidence ahead of his much-anticipated debut for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team next month. Both Edwards and Spies escaped injury in identical crashes at Turn Two tonight.

Test Times (Mar. 19)

(Ambient temperature: 23 degrees Track temperature: 26 degrees Humidity: 35%)

Pos. Rider Team Machine Time
1 C. Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team Ducati 1'55.353
2 V. Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha 1'55.860
3 A. Dovizioso Repsol Honda Team Honda 1'56.879
4 N. Hayden Ducati Marlboro Team Ducati 1'56.115
5 L. Capirossi Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 1'56.195
6 J. Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha 1'56.504
8 C. Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1'56.722
10 B. Spies Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1'56.779

Losail: Record Lap C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1'55.153
Losail: Best Lap J. Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2008, 1'53.927

Valentino Rossi - Day Two Position: 2nd, 1'55.860, Laps 57
"This has been another good day. We've concentrated mostly on the race preparation and it feels like we're now ready for the first race. We did a long run at the end of the session and we got some good information, which will help us in the race. Now that testing is over I am very excited about the season. We've been strong throughout the six days of practice and it feels good to have been fast here also, where we have struggled in the past. We have only tested at two tracks so we need to wait for another different one to fully understand the new bike, but we're in good shape. My M1 feels great and I'm looking forward to racing!"

Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"We're really happy about this final test. Although we were fast in Sepang we didn't know what to expect here but we found that we were quick here as well - more than a second faster than last year in fact and this is encouraging! We've done some more work on the setting during this test and then today concentrated on race preparation, including doing a long run and trying some different combinations of bike and tyres. The waiting is nearly over now and we're ready!"

Jorge Lorenzo - Day Two Position: 6th, 1'56.504, Laps 44
"Today my hand felt okay, maybe a bit worse than yesterday. Of course it's not as good as before the accident but this is to be expected! It's hard for me in the braking areas and I can't push any harder than I have been today at the moment, but I hope it will have improved a lot by the time of the first race. Our bike is great, Yamaha have done a fantastic job and you can see this from the strong performance of all the Yamaha riders. We've done a lot of work and tried many things, so I hope that these will help us when we come back here in three weeks. I will keep working to strengthen my hand and I hope to be in much better condition by then."

Wilco Zeelenberg - Team Manager
"We have been happy here to see that Jorge feels better than expected, even if his thumb is still not perfect. To be able to finish in the top six when he's not in the best shape is a great achievement. We know there is improvement to make but considering the situation we can be happy with this test. Jorge feels good on the bike and we have made some good steps forward in these two days; he can feel the difference already. At the moment these tiny steps are very important. Now we have almost three weeks until the race and this gives Jorge time to improve further, so hopefully we will be in good shape when we return."

Colin Edwards - Day Two Position: 8th, 1'56.722, Laps 48
"It wasn't the ending to testing I was looking for but it wasn't too bad. I just didn't really have a great feeling with the bike tonight and we need to have a think about things before we come back for the race next month. We've got some work to do because I just didn't feel as comfortable on the bike as I did last year, mainly with the front-end. And I know I go good at this track because I had a good race last year and finished fourth. I'm not sure what happened with the crash but I did exactly the same as Ben. I was on the soft front tyre that I'd not really run that much on the first night. But I was on my sixth lap on the tyre, so it should have been ready to push. But I was down before I knew it and it is a fast crash, even if you're only in second gear. I'm just glad I didn't get hurt so close to the first race because that was a fast crash. I'm really excited about going racing now. It seems like a long time since Valencia and I'm sure we can have another great year with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team."

Ben Spies - Day Two Position: 10th, 1'56.779, Laps 44
"I didn't have a great night really but that can happen. Everything that could go wrong went wrong tonight. But I've had a great winter and this was the first session where it didn't go the way we wanted it to. I'd had some small issues early on and went into Turn Two again and just lost the front. I wasn't really sure what happened but then four people crashed in the next 30 minutes so it must have got really humid really quick because something wasn't right with that many people going down in the same place. I did a few more laps to clear my head and got down to some decent times and I'm happy I did that. But it was still a successful test and I leave confident that I'll be competitive for the race next month. I want to thank my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 for all their effort in the winter. We've done a good job and I feel we're in a position to have a competitive start to the season."

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