Major changes the Ducati Desmosedici for 2010, led by the return of a 'big bang' engine design, meant that lead rider Casey Stoner was taking 'big steps' forward right up to the last night of the last pre-season test.

"I am really happy with the test and the work we have done right up to tonight. In the first Sepang test we had a few things to work out but we have made constant progress," said Stoner, winner at Qatar for the past three seasons.

"The latest big step forward with the GP10 came last night and today I was able to set a consistently fast pace. I have been able to work with the tyres without putting too much stress on them and I was able to keep my pace on used rubber."

And that latest step proved to be enough for the 2007 world champion to finally break reigning seven time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi's prefect pre-season preparations.

Stoner, second to Rossi in all five previous days of 2010 testing - four at Sepang and then the opening night at Qatar, improved by 0.364sec on the final night, putting the Australian on top by over half a second from Rossi, who went slower.

On combined times Stoner was just 0.049sec quicker than the Fiat Yamaha rider's first night time, setting the scene for an exciting start to the 2010 season, back at Qatar on April 11.

MotoGP fans have got used to seeing Stoner as the lone Ducati up front, but factory team-mate Nicky Hayden was also on the pace for the second test in succession, setting the fourth fastest time on the final night.

Stoner believes it is the 'big bang' engine that is making the difference: "I like the new engine a lot, it is more manageable and I am pleased to see the other Ducati riders, especially Nicky confirming that with fast times."

Stoner and Hayden were among several riders to crash at turn two, which most attributed to the formation of dew. All the fallers were unhurt.


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment