Stoner Reckons Rossi Will Be the Rider to Beat in 2010

Former road-racing motorcycle champion Casey Stoner admitted that Valentino Rossi again looks like the rider to beat in the 2010 MotoGP championship, following the first test action at Sepang earlier this month.

The Ducati racer, ranked 4th overall in the 2009 classification due to a 3-race missing period last season, finished both days of testing at Sepang behind Rossi, but ahead of Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo and Honda's Dani Pedrosa.

With Lorenzo likely to miss the rest of the off-season testing due to a hand injury and begin the 2010 campaign slightly unprepared, and Pedrosa not very happy with the performance level of his new Honda, Stoner believes Rossi will be tough to beat in 2010. Nevertheless, the Aussie insisted a lot could change until the season opener, and a title favorite could only emerge by mid-season, and no sooner than that.

He looks like he's pushing hard and riding very clean and very tidy. He looks good on the bike at the moment and he'll definitely be tough to beat. But as you saw last year, when the championship went down to the wire pretty much, things can always happen. So we'll just have to wait and see,” said Stoner, according to

Rossi spent the majority of his vacation this winter doing several racing outings in the four-wheelers world, including some tests in Formula One with Ferrari. Nevertheless, talking to the Italian media last week, he insisted that his aim is still to increase his winning records in the MotoGP, hinting that he may stick around for another 2 or 3 seasons in the series.

I think if my motivation stays the same and my body stays the same then it will be possible to make another two or three more years in MotoGP,” said Rossi, who revealed his dream is to match Giacomo Agostini's 122 GP wins record in the series (he currently has 103 wins under his belt).
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