Casey Stoner Edges Valentino Rossi as Preseason Testing Ends with a Bang

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Casey Stoner Edges Valentino Rossi as Preseason Testing Ends with a Bang
Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images

Valentino Rossi dominated preseason testing...until last night.

The Yamaha M1 rider continued his amazing form from Sepang in the early stages of testing at one of his favourite circuits under the beautiful night sky and bright lights of the Losail in Qatar.

But the runner-up to each of his previous days of dominance was Ducati's super-kid Casey Stoner, who, despite falling during the second turn of last night's testing, still managed to finish ahead of Rossi by just 0.049 seconds—thus making Rossi's preseason testing perfection just a dream.

That wasn't the only thing that changed last night, though. Riders who finished higher Thursday ended up a little lower on Friday, and vice versa.

The biggest improvement from Thursday night was definitely Andrea Dovizioso, who managed a 0.932-second adjustment from sixth to third. Stoner's teammate Nicky Hayden was also in fine form, finishing fourth.

Stoner has taken the victory on this circuit three years in a row, and, along with his Ducati, seems to be making a solid run for a fourth. Rossi hasn't seen a victory there since 2006, when the race was during the day.

It's certainly shaping up to be a very interesting season. We'll most likely see the usual winners on top of the podium, but the battle to get first place will be difficult!

The season begins April 9-11 in Qatar.

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