Reigning MotoGP Champion Casey Stoner pulled his back during his morning stretches leaving teammate Dani Pedrosa to fly the Repsol Honda colors on the first day of the MotoGP pre-season test at Mayalsia’s Sepang circuit.
As Stoner received treatment for his back, Pedrosa put in 48 laps to lead all riders. Riding the Honda RC213V, Pedrosa’s best lap time was 2:02.003, making him second fastest on the day behind only Yamaha‘s Jorge Lorenzo and his 2:01.657 time.
Honda test rider Kosuke Akiyoshi put in some shakedown laps on Pedrosa’s bike before adding four more on Stoner’s RC213V.
The bike Pedrosa rode was not too much different from the one he rode at the Valencia test in November. Pedrosa says the first day was more a warm-up for him than for the RC213V.
“Today was good, for the first laps I think it was important for me to come back and just ride again. Of course, the first day I was a little bit stiff, not totally smooth on the bike, but we completed some laps and they were good. Today was mainly a test for myself, to get used to the bike again, recover the feeling, feel the throttle and the brakes after a long time off. The whole day I stayed with the same bike that I tested in Valencia in November and tomorrow the real test will start for us, we will work on the set up and probably try a modified chassis that Honda has brought here according to our requests after Valencia.” – Pedrosa
Stoner says he felt capable of riding after a morning of therapy but decided to be cautious and wait for the second day.
“I was stretching this morning for a good twenty minutes preparing to go out on track for the first time and then all of a sudden my back just locked up on me, I couldn’t move or do anything. I had to call someone to come and help me move into a position that was less painful! Then I had some physio on it straight away trying to get it better for this afternoon but it’s wasn’t feeling good. I had some more physio after lunch but it still wasn’t easing up, I felt I could have gone out on the bike in the afternoon but we all agreed it would probably make it worse for tomorrow. We have two more days testing here in Sepang, we know the track well and we are getting to know the bike, we just need some time to test the new parts we have here to give feedback to HRC. I think tomorrow the track conditions will be better and as long as my back improves overnight we should get back on schedule with our testing programme tomorrow.” -Stoner
Also testing Honda racebikes at Sepang was Gresini Honda‘s Alvaro Bautista (ninth with a time of 2:02.869) and LCR Honda‘s Stefan Bradl (11th at 2:03.668).