MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi was looking on the bright side after failing to challenge Casey Stoner in Monday night's Qatar MotoGP season-opener.

Rossi found the track conditions less to his liking after Sunday's rainstorm, then dropped two positions to fourth on lap one, while Stoner charged into an early eland.

The Fiat Yamaha star recovered to second by lap three of 22, but was already three seconds behind Stoner's Ducati and - despite initially gaining on the Australian - couldn't maintain the pace and finished a massive 7.7sec behind the 2007 champion.

"Today the conditions of the track were quite different to before and this evening in warm-up we encountered a couple of small problems related to tyres, so our strategy had to change slightly tonight," said Rossi. "It's a pity because I think last night we could have put up more of a fight, but anyway this is a good result to start the season, much better than last year.

"I knew I needed a good start in order to go with Stoner but unfortunately I didn't get one and I lost some time fighting with Lorenzo and Capirossi and by then Stoner had already gone!

"The middle part of the race was great fun and I made six or seven good laps to come much closer, but I knew I wouldn't be able to continue in that rhythm, it was too risky for the tyres and I decided it was more important to take the 20 points."

Nevertheless, Rossi's second position is significantly better than his fifth place at Qatar last year, and he was closer to Stoner during practice and qualifying than most expected after being over one-second slower than the Australian in last month's test.

Stoner is also something of a Qatar specialist - winning the last three races at Losail, in both day and night - but last season he went on to struggle at the following rounds.

"Casey was very strong today but he is always fast here and I believe that our potential is very good; I think that we can be back fighting again in Motegi," confirmed Rossi. "I am so glad we could race today after yesterday and I am satisfied to be leaving here having made a good start to the season - it is long!"

"We didn't win but we can consider this a good start to the season, certainly much better than in 2008. Now we need to work to fix one or two small problems that we have," added team manager Davide Brivio. "The middle part of the race was good, we were gaining on Stoner but in the latter stages he was in a better condition to push and Valentino was right to settle for second. It's a long championship and the points are important. We are confident that we will be able to battle with Stoner in Motegi."

With Shinya Nakano having left MotoGP, Rossi is now the only rider to have competed in every race since the introduction of the four-stroke MotoGP class at the start of 2002.

Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo finished third.

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Well please enlighten me instead of insinuating.Blinkers as well.
Why won't we go into lack of intelligence..are you out of your depth?
Obviously so as you resort to childs play once again with your love interest remark.
However we can look forward to a great season of 2 of the very best going at it.Love that for sure.

I agree David and I am not basing anything on 1 race result at all.You are aren't you?
Testing is testing and it is vital to improve your weak and disadvantaged areas.Casey and Ducati have done exactly that in the most emphatic way.Jerez was major.That Casey can now corner with much more freedom,change lines while cornering etc is exactly what was lacking from last year.Everything has improved and now he just needs to get more fitness.
As for calling Casey moaner that shows your disrespect and intelligence.Did you know that?

If you ignore everything else.
Stoner has dominated everything since the last race of last year.Hows that?Come on I will walk you through and anyone else still in MotoGP nappies and blinkers on.
Races,tests,qualifying,warm ups,BMW Award..

Sorry Ducati big advantage is Casey Stoner.
Plenty of Yamaha advantage out there though eh..
Analising in your favour is also futile.
Casey won and continues to beat Rossi in everyway.
It shows in Rossi's body language.
It shows in the results.These are facts.

Yes well instead of dreaming of the past have a look at the now.Casey has improved in nearly all areas that he needed.Something that the Rossi hopefuls fail to comprehend.Blinkered vision and bringing up a past situation where Rossi looked better does not make any difference.Casey will continue to win and be Champion.
Instead of biting off my finger..look to where its pointing.

MotoGP bikes at the limit around a racetrack is pure bliss in the hands of someone like Casey Stoner.
If no one at all or even Rossi can keep up then they need to improve or get out.
There has never been a faster more dominant rider ever than right now and Rossi is being exposed as something less than what is expected.
Its just how it is.Nobody wins forever and someone better always comes along.
This could very well be his last year in MotoGP and I doubt very much he would be man enough to keep getting thrashed by Casey next year onwards.
Casey will be Champion in 2009

Wow you are either a non rider/racer or joking or really for real and have not much of a clue.
No offense there.

Racing will improve as far as on track battles in my view.Certainly some of the tracks are not condusive to close racing unfortunately.
Still if it doesn't happen to be as much dicing going on then I for one can appreciate the shear speed and skill the front runners display.
Racetrack camera action footage has a huge role to play in these situations to make it better for the TV viewer.Frankly the overall standard is rather ordinary.

This is going to be how it is generally for the remainder of the season as the Rossi supporters really do consider that he is their idol and the goat etc.
Problem is he is getting constantly out done by the faster man and its going to continue this year.
So they have a self issue to face.
We can appreciate everything that happens.
Great,great season ahead.2 of the very best,head to head on the fastest motorcycles ever to lap a MotoGP circuit.
Awesome if you can handle the results.

Er..well maybe I wouldn't put it quite like that.
Though I have to say I do agree with you.

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