Ad closing in seconds....

Casey Stoner ends 2009 on top

Published: 11 November 2009

Casey Stoner ended a turbulent 2009 campaign on a high today, the Australian posting the fastest time at the end of testing at a sun drenched Valencia. 

Continuing to put in crucial early development miles on the Ducati GP10 that features a Big Bang firing order V4 motor, Stoner clocked a best time of 1.31.900 in a 35-lap stint today in a shortened three-hour session. 

That best time ensured Stoner ended 2009 at the top of the timesheets with the 24-year-old marginally beating Jorge Lorenzo’s previous best time clocked yesterday.

With Valentino Rossi and Lorenzo opting not to test today, second fastest was Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa. The Spaniard continued to try and get accustomed to Ohlins suspension and he ended up just 0.044s adrift of 2007 world champion Stoner.

Pedrosa said: "We had a good day out there. The track conditions were very good and there was a lot of grip, so we were able to improve our speed quite a lot. My feeling with the new suspension really improved today and that was our main focus here.

"It's a big change because I've been riding with Showa since 2003, so of course it takes a while to get used to something new. We didn't spend a lot of time working specifically on adjustments with the new chassis because it was important to concentrate on one thing at a time. 

"At the next test in Sepang in February it will be a good opportunity to concentrate on the chassis. My focus now is to take some rest and then prepare as best I can for 2010. We need to start the season at full strength - in terms of me physically and the machine package.

"That's what the whole Team will be working on through the winter."

Nicky Hayden was third fastest as he reported progress with Ducati's smoother engine helping the American to a best lap time of 1.32.805.

That was just 0.020s clear of Andrea Dovizioso, who rode despite the pain of a cracked bone in his hip after a massive high-side crash yesterday.

Hector Barbera was again fastest of the rookies as he clocked a best time of 1.33.787 to finish less than two seconds away from Stoner.

The Valencia 250GP winner knocked 2.5s off his times over the course of the test and he edged out Gresini Honda rider Marco Simoncelli by just 0.069s. The Italian finished with a best time of 1.33.856 to beat factory Suzuki rider Alvaro Bautista by 0.3s.