Casey Stoner set the fastest time in MotoGP testing at Sepang today, while Valentino Rossi missed the day due to illness.
Rossi was at the circuit during the morning but did not ride and returned to his hotel in the afternoon to rest ahead of Thursday's third and final day of the test. In his absence, and in the searing Malaysian heat with the track temperature climbing above 140 degrees, the three factory Honda riders filled the first three places. Stoner was just half a tenth faster than Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso another three tenths behind.
"We tested a lot of different things including the 2011 fork and new shocks and we found quite a lot of chattering with them," said Stoner. "We spent 90 percent of the day on one bike trying different configurations, changing the geometry to get the new fork working with the bike but didn't find anything that felt really good, but these things are necessary to do before the start of the season.
"We're slowly starting to lean more toward the standard frame but tomorrow will give us more confirmation on this. We found the new forks to be quite amazing in the braking points, in hard braking I didn't need to use half as much pressure and I was able to stop for the corner much quicker, but found a lot more chattering in the last part of the corner. We managed to reduce this but we just seemed to lack the extra feeling that the alternative forks were giving."
The works Yamahas of Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo were fourth and fifth quickest and the only other two riders to post times under the 2m01sec mark, though Spies ended his day with a minor crash at Turn 7.
The Gresini Hondas of Marco Simoncelli and Hiroshi Aoyama continued the team formation with the sixth and seventh fastest times, while Colin Edwards (Tech 3 Yamaha), Hector Barbera (Aspar Ducati) and Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) completed the top 10. Though Bautista was another rider to suffer from illness during the day.
Nicky Hayden was 11th on the sole factory Ducati, just ahead of the customer Pramac bikes of Randy de Puniet and Loris Capirossi.
Karel Abraham fell from his Cardion Ducati at the end of the day but still finished 14th, ahead of Toni Elias (LCR Honda) and Cal Crutchlow (Tech 3 Yamaha).