2009 Qatar Night Test Day 2 - Stoner Is Back

Testing resumed under rather better conditions at Qatar today, yesterday's rain fortunately not making a reappearance. And so all of the riders took to the track, with no reason to sit it out. One rider came to regret that decision, Dani Pedrosa suffering a big highside, and fracturing his wrist and leg (full story here), a bitter irony after the Spaniard chose to sit out yesterday's session for fear of aggravating his already injured knee.

Fastest of the day was - how could it be otherwise? - Casey Stoner. The Australian put in relatively few laps, but according to Livio Suppo, his wrist was holding up better than it had been previously, the surgery on his injured scaphoid slowly starting to heal. Stoner was testing a carbon fiber swingarm to go along with the carbon fiber frame, and from the times he set, it would appear to be working.

Valentino Rossi was second fastest, though still 6/10ths behind Stoner, a big gap. But his arrears to Stoner had not left him without a sense of humor: Rossi appeared at the track with a comedy high-visibility yellow helmet, in the colors used by the emergency services in a number of countries.

Colin Edwards was third fastest, the Tech 3 Yamaha man clearly settling in with his new crew chief, while Andrea Dovizioso was left to salvage Repsol Honda's honor, taking the 4th fastest time in the dying minutes of the session, ahead of the Suzukis of Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi.

Marco Melandri continued to test the bike formerly known as the Kawasaki, and told GPOne.com that the Hayate - as the Dornasaki will be officially known - is an improvement on the 2008 Kawasaki, with the engine more responsive and the chassis an improvement over the old bike. But the worrying thing for Melandri must be the fact that once again, he is near the bottom of the timesheet, fighting it out with the satellite Ducatis.

But Melandri's misery is as nothing compared to James Toseland. The Briton, who was on the front row of the grid here last year, is still recovering from a huge crash in Sepang, and his times show him to be a long way off the pace.

Testing concludes tomorrow.

Pos.RiderBikeTimeFast LapTotal Laps
1Casey StonerDucati1'57.1392337
2Valentino RossiYamaha1'57.7473951
3Colin EdwardsYamaha1'57.8173541
4Andrea DoviziosoHonda1'57.8795760
5Chris VermeulenSuzuki1'58.0182424
6Loris CapirossiSuzuki1'58.2643242
7Jorge LorenzoYamaha1'58.4006363
8Alex de AngelisHonda1'58.4413253
9Nicky HaydenDucati1'58.5775254
10Dani PedrosaHonda1'58.6192528
11Randy de PunietHonda1'58.9364455
12Toni EliasHonda1'59.0365656
13Yuki TakahashiHonda1'59.1536165
14Marco MelandriDornasaki1'59.1955463
15Niccolo CanepaDucati1'59.2662636
16Mika KallioDucati1'59.7644048
17James ToselandYamaha2'00.2343451

Current lap record held by Casey Stoner, 2008 race, with a lap of 1'55.153

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looks like JT is suffering from lorenzo-itis.

-throttle over-exuberance which leads to a momentary loss of grip followed by a too much grip and ejection of the rider

symptoms include:
-broken bones
-slow lap times

Miy interest in motorcycle racing is relatively new. In other words, I was not following WSBK or MotoGP during Colin Edwards' peak. But having watched his performance the last few seasons, I cannot help but be impressed. He is obviously not bound or chained by his years of riding Michelin tires. In fact, some might argue that his tire testing experience is one of the key factors in his excellent performance since switching to Bridgestone. This will create an interesting situation for Yamaha next year: Colin Edwards still has got it (so why drop him), James Toseland is up and coming (and already signed with Yamaha for next year), and Ben Spies is (will be) proving to worthy of a factory seat in MotoGP. If only I had such problems as three great riders and only two motorcycles!

I'm an Australian and I love Casey. I grew up watching Gardner and Doohan but, I'm not going to say Casey is going to win it this year. I think we will see Lorenzo have his year. The guy is a freak, you could say young Rossi. I think we will see his dominance very soon. He got a bit excited last and hopefully he has learnt from the pain. I think the only thing that will beat him is Ducati's engneers.


As Homer said. I can't believe I ate the whole thing.