The works Honda MotoGP team continued with its strong showing in preseason testing, with Casey Stoner setting the pace on the opening day of running at Sepang on Tuesday. The Australian posted the quickest time with a lap of 2m00.987sec, outpacing teammate Dani Pedrosa by nearly four tenths of a second.
Stoner resumed testing with the same setup he had used on the final day in the first test, and spent the day alternating between the two chassis options he had at his disposal.
"We had a really good day today, from the beginning I felt more comfortable with the bike again, like I understood the bike a little better," said Stoner. "We managed to work on setup but we are still doing a chassis comparison, finding strong points and weak points on both.
"It's difficult to choose one or the other, whatever setup we throw at them we seem to be able to run pretty similar lap times. We're very happy with the progress we made today and everything and everybody seems to be working well".
Pedrosa was also happy with his day's work, and admitted he was feeling stronger every day following his shoulder injury.
"We made the most of the test today which is a good job because it looks like tomorrow we will get some rain," he said. "In the morning, we focused on some different electronic mappings to improve the entering and exit of the corners and in the afternoon we did some setup modifications on the chassis to improve the stability on braking.
"The track temperature was high at the middle of the day and the track was quite slippery but we did a good test and tomorrow we will work on smaller details. Also, physically my shoulder felt better on the bike than in the first test. I had two more weeks and I've become stronger from training, so my condition is getting better".
MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo was third quickest on the Yamaha, with Colin Edwards on the Tech 3 bike and Andrea Dovizioso on the third works Honda completing the top five. Lorenzo's teammate Ben Spies was sixth fastest, while Valentino Rossi finished down in ninth, but quickest of the Ducati riders. The top 10 was rounded out by Alvaro Bautista on the Suzuki, the Spaniard feeling better than in his last outing.
"Today I wanted to ride in a calm way and concentrate on the details that we had to work on," Bautista said. "Also, last time here in Sepang we really struggled to use the hard rear tire, so we did many laps on it today and made some progress. Then finally we put in some softer tires – the same as I used in the race last year – and the feeling was really smooth and very easy to make a low 2.02.
"We didn't make an exciting lap time today but we improved the bike, especially on corner exit where it now feels much smoother. I'm looking forward to pushing a bit harder tomorrow."
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap
1. Casey Stoner Honda 2m00.987s
2. Dani Pedrosa Honda 2m01.360s + 0.373s
3. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 2m01.468s + 0.481s
4. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 2m01.654s + 0.667s
5. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 2m01.747s + 0.760s
6. Ben Spies Yamaha 2m01.808s + 0.821s
7. Hiroshi Aoyama Gresini Honda 2m01.939s + 0.952s
8. Marco Simoncelli Gresini Honda 2m01.996s + 1.009s
9. Valentino Rossi Ducati 2m01.999s + 1.012s
10. Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 2m02.224s + 1.237s
11. Hector Barbera Aspar Ducati 2m02.645s + 1.658s
12. Nicky Hayden Ducati 2m02.680s + 1.693s
13. Toni Elias LCR Honda 2m02.779s + 1.792s
14. Randy de Puniet Pramac Ducati 2m02.920s + 1.933s
15. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 2m02.936s + 1.949s
16. Loris Capirossi Pramac Ducati 2m03.082s + 2.095s
17. Karel Abraham Cardion Ducati 2m03.167s + 2.180s