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News Losail, Qatar 19/03/2010
Rossi continues pre-season domination as Lorenzo makes his return

Reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi continued his domination of the pre-season testing programme 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 6pm 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.

Valentino Rossi - Position: 1st Time: 1'55.402 Laps: 64
"I am so happy today because this isn't one of our best tracks and to come here and be fastest shows what a great job Yamaha has done with this new M1. To start with the track was quite slippery but anyway we were still fast, and as the track started to improve I felt better and better. We are quite competitive and this gives me a good feeling, and I was happy to make this quick lap right at the end. We still have to decide the right tyre and the best setting for it, and we will keep working on the electronics but the most important thing is that we're faster than last year! Tomorrow we will continue with our work and try to finalise everything before the race."

Jorge Lorenzo

Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 7th Time: 1'56.838 Laps: 45
"It's really good to be back on my bike and actually when I went out on track the first time today my hand felt better than I had expected. The pain has decreased a lot in the last few days and I've been doing a lot of physio to make sure I'm in the best possible shape for this test. I was able to do quite a lot of laps today and my time is not so bad in the end, it's definitely interesting and important to be here and see our level after missing the last test. Dainese have made me a bigger glove and I have some protection on the hand; changing direction is okay, it's just the hard braking areas where I have some problems. I need more practice but I think we have made a good start."


Ben Spies and Colin Edwards light up Qatar night test

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 C asey Stoner 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 1.57.541 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.
Ben Spies


Ben Spies - Position: 3rd Time: 1'55.954 Laps: 44
“I know this track from last year but riding under the floodlights is definitely a bit different and nothing I've experienced before. The perception of speed is much faster with it being at night but I'm having a lot of fun. It's really well lit up but there are a couple of darker spots on the track that you have to get used to but I've not done too bad in adjusting to the lights. I know the track but any track I go to on a MotoGP bike makes it definitely different because of the lines you take. Some of the lines I'd take on the superbike just don't work but I felt like it was coming together good and following a couple of people it felt like I was doing more of the right things than I was in Malaysia. Obviously it is great for me to be high up the timesheets but I'm still taking baby steps to improve and not getting carried away. The crash was nothing too serious. I was running the hard front and I wasn't getting a good feeling from it. We changed the pressure to try and help for my second run but I just lost the front at the second corner. But to be third is fantastic for my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3. They have been giving me great support.”

Colin Edwards

Colin Edwards - Position: 4th Time: 1'56.541 Laps: 59
“It was a good night. It didn't start off too great and it took me a while to get into the groove. We played around with the set-up using some of the new parts I'd liked in Sepang and also running some of last year's pieces to get some good information. The lap time was about the same so around this track the new parts aren't making the difference like they did in Malaysia. I did a long run on the hard front and I like it. I did race distance on it and it felt really good. I ended up doing 27-laps on it, which is five more than race distance, and it still felt really good. I'm getting the feedback I need at full lean angle and it holds the turn much better."
Test Times
1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'55.402
2. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team 1'55.717
3. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'55.954
4. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'56.540
5. Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 1'56.588
6. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team 1'56.811
7. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'56.838
8. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 1'56.855
9. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team 1'56.923
10. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1'57.047
11. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'57.099
12. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1'57.605
13. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team 1'57.822
14. Hiroshi Aoyama (JAP) Interwetten-Honda MotoGP 1'57.888
15. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1'57.891
16. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team 1'57.898
17. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'57.960

Losail: Record Lap
C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1'55.153

Losail: Best Lap
J. Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2008, 1'53.927

source: Yamaha Racing Communications
 

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Test Times
1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'55.402
2. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team 1'55.717
3. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'55.954
4. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'56.540
5. Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 1'56.588
6. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team 1'56.811
7. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'56.838
8. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 1'56.855
9. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team 1'56.923
10. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1'57.047
11. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'57.099
12. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1'57.605
13. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team 1'57.822
14. Hiroshi Aoyama (JAP) Interwetten-Honda MotoGP 1'57.888
15. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1'57.891
16. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team 1'57.898
17. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'57.960

Losail: Record Lap
C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1'55.153

Losail: Best Lap
J. Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2008, 1'53.927
Most important part!

Looks like it's gonna be a GREAT season. Even though he's hurt, Jorge Lorenzo managed to get into 7th place, while 3 of the top 4 times come on a Yamaha! Can't wait for the racing to begin!
 
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