Casey Stoner fastest in first 2010 test

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A new factory Ducati engine with revised firing order catapulted Casey Stoner to the quickest time on the opening day of 2010 winter testing in Valencia today.

In sunny but blustery conditions, the Aussie shrugged off the crushing disappointment crash on the warm-up for yesterday’s 30-lap race to edge out Yamaha rival Jorge Lorenzo. Riding a Ducati GP10 prototype that had a distinctly different exhaust note, Stoner posted a best time of 1.32.660 in his short 32-lap stint.

That left him just 0.025s clear of Lorenzo as the 24-year-old confirmed he had tested a radically different Desmosedici V4 motor. “The new engine is really good. It is much smoother and makes the bike much easier to rider,” beamed the 2007 world champion.

Lorenzo logged a best time of 1.32.685 as he got his first chance to assess a new chassis on his factory Yamaha. The Spaniard told MCN it improved grip at maximum lean angle and but significantly increased acceleration grip. Reigning world champion Valentino Rossi, who reportedly didn’t leave the end of season party until 630am this morning, was third quickest.

The Italian didn’t even take to the track until 3pm but he clocked a best time of 1.32.826. He also tried Yamaha’s new chassis but confirmed a new long life engine for 2010 will not be ready to evaluate until the Sepang test in Malaysia in early February.

Fourth place went to Dani Pedrosa as he tried a new chassis and swingarm on his factory Honda RC212V. The Spaniard, who romped to victory in the Valencia race, also made his second appearance on Ohlins suspension to clock a best time of 1.33.088.

Impressive Texan Ben Spies was less than a second behind Stoner as he shaved a massive 0.6s off his fastest race lap. Making his debut for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. Spies again resisted the temptation to tamper with the set-up of his YZR-M1 machine as he again concentrated on refining his riding style. He posted a best time of 1.33.496 in a 50-lap stint.

All eyes were on several of the 250 graduates making their much-hyped premier class debut this afternoon. Marco Simoncelli had a somewhat unspectacular first outing on board the Gresini Honda RC212V.

The 2008 world 250GP champion was down in 14th place with a best time of 1.35.229. That was 2.569s slower than Stoner but over 0.5s clear of Alvaro Bautista. The Spaniard clocked a best time of 1.35.772 on his factory Suzuki GSV-R.

Newly crowned 250GP champion Hiroshi Aoyama was 17th quickest with a best lap 1.37.964. That was 5.304s away from Stoner’s best lap.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt