Stoner tops opening MotoGP test day
Casey Stoner set the fastest time during the opening day of the official pre-season test in Malaysia, topping the timesheets with a 2:01.574. The Australian was four tenths faster than reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, who is now running with the number one on his bike following his title-glory last season.
Stoner’s late effort dropped the Spaniard to second place, with the newly-signed Honda driver getting off to a positive start with his new RC212V machine. Dani Pedrosa finished the day just behind the Lorenzo in third place, with Marco Simoncelli and Ben Spies rounding out the top five with their efforts.
Valentino Rossi, who is still recovering from a shoulder injury, finished the day in twelfth place on his Desmosedici GP11. The test will continue at the Sepang International Circuit for two more days, with riders continuing to prepare their new bikes for the season ahead.
"Rarely have I been this happy with a 12th place, because after the test at Misano, we were pretty pessimistic considering how bad I felt there," said a returning Rossi. "It went better here though, especially in the morning, and we were able to do 20, 25 laps at a decent speed.
"Although we still have a lot of work to do, we did a lot today: we worked on the riding position, and we're starting to understand, among the many details that we can adjust on this bike, what the best solutions are. The Ducati's DNA doesn't need to be changed; we have to take advantage of the positive aspects and improve the others.
"Unfortunately, it became more difficult when I lost a lot of strength in the afternoon, but in the end I was able to do about 15 more laps," he added. "Let's say that at the moment, I have quite a bit of pain and not much strength, whereas the opposite would be preferable!
"The hardest parts are the straights and on hard braking into right corners, like Turn 1 and Turn 4; there alone I lose about a second, whereas the rest of the lap is OK, because compared to Valencia, I'm able to ride much better.
"It will be important to be able to rest well tonight in order to regain some mobility so that I can do 30 or 40 laps tomorrow. I'll have a relaxing massage and put ice on it."
||Tech 3 Yamaha
||Randy de Puniet
||Tech 3 Yamaha