Following a two-month break, MotoGP returned to action this week as testing began for MotoGP teams on the new 1000cc machines at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
After missing Tuesday’s test day due to a back injury sustained during his morning stretching routine, it was reigning World Champion Casey Stoner who didn’t take long to remind everyone who was sporting the number one plate.
After only 29 laps the Australian set a fast time of 2:00.895 around the Malaysian circuit, while testing some new HRC parts on the Repsol Honda 1000cc machine.
Factory Yamaha riders Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo rounded out the top three for the day, following some earlier confusion that saw Spies fastest. Stoner’s Repsol Honda teammate, Dani Pedrosa, was 4th, while Cal Crutchlow was 5th on the Tech 3 Yamaha. According to Crutchlow’s twitter feed, he was pleased with the days results; still trying to find some setting on the motorcycle, but having used only two sets of tires for the day and running consistent laptimes, he feels he never pushed the bike and expects faster laptimes on the third and final day of testing on Thursday.
In the Ducati camp, perhaps the biggest upset was satellite Ducati rider Hector Barbera finishing the day in 6th position, ahead of Factory Ducati’s Valentino Rossi, who finished 7th. Time will only tell if the all new Ducati Desmosedici GP12 has improved enough for the nine-time world champion to manage, but according to Rossi on Tuesday, “The riding position has improved a lot, and it’s better on braking and corner entry. I can brake like I want to and take the lines that I like, and I feel comfortable in general. I was able to ride well and not make mistakes, and there’s a reason for that. It means that the bike can be ridden. It’s more agile in change of direction, and it wheelies much less.”