First race not significant, says Casey Stoner
Qatar specialist Casey Stoner has played down the importance of claiming victory in the first race of the season for a fourth successive year in 2010.
The Aussie ended winter testing in style recently when he topped the timesheets during the final test under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
Stoner ended Valentino Rossi’s domination of the 2010 pre-season with a best time of 1.55.353 to defeat his Italian rival by less than 0.1s.
His impressive performance in Doha set him up perfectly for another crack at winning the season’s opening battle.
Stoner and Ducati have been unstoppable at Qatar since 2007 but the Australian reckons another win in the Doha desert will count for little in the overall title scrap.
Stoner told MCN: “Hopefully if we don’t do well it might be good for the season after the last couple of years.
"We’ll see how we go this year but everybody starts putting pressure on the person that’s won it however many times. I just want a good solid start to the season and get some points on the board.
"Qatar is not really a special place for me and I think the rest of the year is much better for me and I’m looking forward to racing on the other tracks.”
Fiat Yamaha rider Rossi hasn’t won the opening race of a MotoGP campaign since 2005, but. Stoner was the last rider to win the first race and the world title in 2007.