Casey Stoner unconcerned by Yamaha performance

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Casey Stoner has denied being overly concerned by the impressive performance of Yamaha’s new 2010 YZR-M1 contender after last week’s Sepang test in Malaysia.

Reigning MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi dominated the two-day session to finish close to 0.4s clear of Aussie Stoner on the new Ducati GP10.

Jorge Lorenzo was third quickest in the Far East while Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo Colin Edwards and Ben Spies also displayed good form in Sepang by clocking the fifth and seventh best times.

Yamaha won the 2008 and ’09 titles with Rossi after Stoner and Ducati romped to the inaugural 800cc four-stroke series in 2007.

Three Yamahas finished in the top five in last year’s world championship and Rossi was delighted with winter developments on the new YZR-M1 when he topped the timesheets in Sepang.

But Stoner said it was difficult to judge whether Yamaha had a significant advantage going into the new season.

The 24-year-old, who has won 20 races in the 800cc four-stroke era, said: “We won’t really know about an advantage for anybody until we get to the first race or even half way through the season.

“They (Yamaha) look good but they do every year and they always seem to do well at this track (Sepang) but here is a bit of an Achilles heel for us.

“We’ve had a couple of good tests here and a good race but otherwise we’ve struggled here a little bit more than other circuits.

“So we are quite happy to be where we are at the moment being only a couple of tenths away from a realistic race pace.

“This bike is going to be a better package for the whole championship rather than one or two tracks.

“In the past our bike has worked well in some tracks but then been difficult in others, this bike has a much better all round feeling and I’m looking to getting to some other tracks and see how it goes.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt