Casey Stoner believes there is more to come from his Ducati over the rest of the Valencia Grand Prix weekend, despite topping the opening practice session for the season-ending race. The 24-year-old Australian headed the time sheets in 1m32.813s – more than four-tenths of a second ahead of local hero Jorge Lorenzo's Yamaha.
However, despite honing his machine's setup throughout the hour-long session, the 2007 world champion is still adamant that improvements need to be found if he is to succeed in robbing Lorenzo of second place in the championship.
"We didn't start out with a very effective base setting and I didn't have a good feeling for the first few laps," Stoner said. "Basically we didn't have enough weight on the front and because of the track conditions. It was difficult to get heat into the tires, especially on the right side because there aren't many right turns here.
"We knew what we needed from the bike so I kept coming in and making small adjustments until we found it. It's quite good, we still need to improve a lot but I'm really pleased with the job we did today and if we can make the improvements we have planned for tomorrow then we'll be in a very good situation."
Stoner's teammate Nicky Hayden was 10th quickest and 1.4 seconds off the Australian's pace.
"It was a tough session and I had certainly hoped to be a lot closer to the pace than that today," Hayden said. "It's a track I really like and we know the bike works well here so the team and I have a lot of work to do.
"Track temperatures were quite low and I had a really hard time getting the tires working on the front and rear. It's also quite windy so I'm not sure if maybe a lot of sand and dirt has blown onto the track, but it's definitely tricky to find grip out there."