Casey Stoner back for MotoGP Title?

Stoner sets Fast Time

As the 2010 MotoGP motorcycle racing season is set to start on April 11th at the Grand Prix of Qatar (Losail), fans are starting to place their bets on their favorite riders and machines.

The obvious favorite is the 9-time World GP Champion, the Italian who turned Yamaha’s modern day MotoGP efforts from fledging to most flourishing, Valentino Rossi.

Rossi scorched the time sheets all preseason long… until Casey Stoner set the fastest time on the second and final night of pre-season testing under floodlights in Qatar.

Former MotoGP Champion Stoner was quickest around the Losail circuit while second quickest was defending champion Valentino Rossi on the Fiat Yamaha. The Repsol Honda was third fastest but not with the likely Dani Pedrosa instead with Andrea Dovizioso.

This result as well as the new Ducati boss publicly stating that he sees a new rejuvenated Casey Stoner may be reminiscent of the 2007 season when MotoGP switch over to the 800c limit and Stoner ran away with the Championship.

Casey Stoner commented after the preseason: "I am really happy with the test and the work we have done. 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 confirming that with fast times."

Nicky Hayden revealed that the team was making progress after struggling with set-up: "Today went better than yesterday, we took a step forward with the set-up and my lap time was decent.

"Anyway the bike is working well, the team has done a fantastic job and I can’t wait for the season to start now."

All told, if Casey Stoner can stick with his lactose-free diet and stay healthy, it looks like he has the racing package to press for his second MotoGP premier-class championship. Fast-learning rookie Ben Spies, the aggressive Jorge Lorenzo, the recovered Dani Pederosa and the proven Valentino Rossi, looking for his 10th championship, will have something to say about it.