Jorge Lorenzo marked his return to the track after last year's injury with the fastest time in the first preseason MotoGP test at Sepang, while reigning champion Casey Stoner sat out the session with back pain.
Stoner aggravated an old back injury while warming up before going out this morning. After receiving physiotherapy, he decided to wait until tomorrow before taking to the track, with Honda test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi doing a handful of laps on his bike instead.
At the front, Yamaha rider Lorenzo set the pace with a lap of 2m01.657s, 0.2sec slower than last year's pole time at the Malaysian Grand Prix venue, and 0.346sec ahead of second-placed Dani Pedrosa's Honda. 2010 champion Lorenzo was making his first appearance for Yamaha since his '11 campaign was ended prematurely by a serious hand injury sustained at Philip Island.
Yamaha had three bikes in the top four, with Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow impressing in third place and Ben Spies putting the second factory bike fourth. Crutchlow's new teammate Andrea Dovizioso was sixth as he got back up to speed after breaking his collarbone in a recent motocross accident.
Valentino Rossi took an encouraging fifth on the best of the Ducatis, 0.7sec off the pace, and 0.8sec quicker than teammate Nicky Hayden – another man recovering from a winter injury.
A handful of the new CRT bikes were present, but a long way off the pace, with Forward Racing's Colin Edwards 6.6sec down on Lorenzo on his Suter-BMW, although he did lose mileage to electrical problems. The Avintia FTR-Kawasakis of Jordi Torres and Ivan Silva were several seconds slower still.
Fellow CRT squads Aspar and Speed Master had already begun testing in a private session at Valencia on Monday, where Aspar's Randy de Puniet was quickest on 1m35.3s – 3.5sec slower than the 2011 MotoGP pole time.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap Laps
1. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 2m01.657s 30
2. Dani Pedrosa Honda 2m02.003s + 0.346s 48
3. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 2m02.221s + 0.564s 32
4. Ben Spies Yamaha 2m02.234s + 0.577s 28
5. Valentino Rossi Ducati 2m02.392s + 0.735s 43
6. Andrea Dovizioso Tech 3 Yamaha 2m02.751s + 1.094s 20
7. Hector Barbera Pramac Ducati 2m02.773s + 1.116s 41
8. Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha 2m02.829s + 1.172s 32
9. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda 2m02.869s + 1.212s 45
10. Nicky Hayden Ducati 2m03.151s + 1.494s 33
11. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 2m03.668s + 2.011s 44
12. Karel Abraham Cardion Ducati 2m03.781s + 2.124s 45
13. Franco Battaini Ducati 2m04.986s + 3.329s 35
14. Kousuke Akiyoshi Honda 2m07.163s + 5.506s 4
15. Colin Edwards Forward Suter-BMW 2m08.240s + 6.583s 21
16. Jordi Torres Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 2m10.671s + 9.014s 42
17. Ivan Silva Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 2m11.267s + 9.610s 12