World Champion Valentino Rossi was the fastest of the MotoGP men in each and every test session this off-season. Until today. Marlboro Ducati's Casey Stoner put an end to Rossi's perfection tonight at the Losail Circuit in Qatar, the Australian moving past Rossi by half a second under the lights on the final day of the two-day test to end up with the overall best lap.Stoner's 1:55.353 was half a second better than what Rossi could manage tonight, but just .049 of a second better than what the seven-time World Champion turned in yesterday. There were several crashers at the circuit tonight, including Stoner and his teammate Nicky Hayden."I am really happy with the test and the work we have done right up to tonight," Stoner said in a team release. "In the first Sepang test we had a few things to work out but we have made constant progress. The latest big step forward with the GP10 came last night and today I was able to set a consistently fast pace. I have been able to work with the tires without putting too much stress on them and I was able to keep my pace on used rubber. I like the new engine a lot, it is more manageable and I am pleased to see the other Ducati riders, especially Nicky [Hayden] confirming that with fast times."Third fastest tonight went to Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso, the Italian lapping at 1:55.879 - a time that puts him third overall after the two days.Marlboro Ducati's Nicky Hayden ended day two fourth, his 1:56.115 just .161 slower than Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Ben Spies' best from yesterday. Spies couldn't match his best from yesterday and slid down to 10th in today's session, but he still held on to the fourth best overall time from the two days."Today went better than yesterday, we took a step forward with the set-up and my lap time was decent," Hayden said. "It is still taking us too long to get up to speed, but there's no doubt we're making progress. Tonight I did my best time on a long run and I think I could have gone even faster on the next lap if it wasn't for the crash in turn two. Anyway the bike is working well, the team has done a fantastic job and I can't wait for the season to start now. I want to say a big thanks to all the guys at Ducati who are working so hard and giving me great support."Fifth today went to Rizla Suzuki's Loris Capirossi, the Italian improving almost a full second over yesterday with his 1:56.195. Capirossi was the final rider on the same second as Stoner. Then came Jorge Lorenzo, Rossi's teammate back from injury to lap at 1:56.504 - an improvement of some .7 of a second over yesterday's return to action - and the exact same time as LCR's Randy de Puniet, who was the fastest of the Honda men yesterday.Colin Edwards rode his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha to the eighth best lap tonight, a tad slower than what he did yesterday. Pramac Racing's Mika Kallio improved his best from yesterday but was still ninth at the end of the two days.Spies was 10th today, but still third overall. Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa continued his struggles today, ending up 13th and some 1.5 seconds slower than Stoner.Even though he didn't end this test the fastest - as he has at all the others - Rossi was satisfied."This has been another good day," Rossi said in a team release. "We've concentrated mostly on the race preparation and it feels like we're now ready for the first race. We did a long run at the end of the session and we got some good information, which will help us in the race. Now that testing is over I am very excited about the season. We've been strong throughout the six days of practice and it feels good to have been fast here also, where we have struggled in the past. We have only tested at two tracks so we need to wait for another different one to fully understand the new bike, but we're in good shape. My M1 feels great and I'm looking forward to racing!"

Day 2 Times

1.                  Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:55.353

2.                  Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:55.860

3.                  Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:55.879

4.                  Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:56.115

5.                  Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1:56.195

6.                  Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:56.504

7.                  Randy de Puniet (Honda) 1:56.504

8.                  Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:56.722

9.                  Mika Kallio (Ducati) 1:56.767

10.                  Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:56.779

11.                  Aleix Espargaro (Ducati) 1:56.897

12.                  Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 1:56.898

13.                  Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:56.935

14.                  Marco Melandri (Honda) 1:57.222

15.                  Hector Barbera (Honda) 1:57.223

16.                  Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1:57.251

17.                  Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1:57.379

MotoGP Headlines

By Cycle News Staff

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