Casey Stoner made his return to the track after missing the first day of the MotoGP pre-season test at Sepang and showed everyone why he deserved the #1 plate.
After skipping the first day of the test due to back pain, Stoner was back on the Repsol Honda RC213V and set the top lap time of all riders. Stoner rode 29 laps and set the pace with a lap time of 2:00.895, 0.157 seconds faster than Ben Spies and 0.173 seconds ahead of Jorge Lorenzo.
According to Honda, Stoner’s back woes stemmed from an old injury suffered in the 125cc Grand Prix at the 2003 Dutch TT. A day of physiotherapy plus some over-the-counter medication helped Stoner return to the track for the second day of testing.
“It was great to be able to ride today and everything went pretty well, although I would have liked to have done a few more laps. We spent most of the day on the new chassis comparing it back to back with the one we had in Valencia and we found a good direction and where we want to go. As usual, it would be great to take some elements from one chassis and some from the other, but at least we found the direction we are happy to follow. We used the hard front tyre this afternoon, but found we had more chattering with it so we have to work on this. There is still room for improvement. We didn’t get a chance to use the new spec tyres that Bridgestone have brought here. We’ll try them out tomorrow and go from there.” – Stoner
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Repsol Honda garage, Dani Pedrosa trimmed nearly half a second of his best lap of day 1 to record a lap time of 2:01.508, good enough for fourth on the second day of testing.
“Today we started to work well from the beginning; the track conditions were better than yesterday and it was hotter out there. We’ve been working on the setting of the bike, focusing mainly on the braking and reducing chatter, to improve the stability on the entry of the corners; that’s our main target right now. We made some comparisons between the two chassis’ and we will keep working with the bike and see what can we do before choosing. We have one more day, so we’ll try some other things with the shocks-this could help-and also different tyre pressures. We will see. I didn’t do many laps during the day, but now it’s time to test as much as possible and sometimes you have to spend more time in the garage. It’s normal. The new Bridgestone tyres are working OK, I just tried one hard on the rear, but I didn’t have much grip and the soft ones are working better. Even for the endurance they don’t look so bad.” – Pedrosa
Gresini Honda satellite rider Alvaro Bautista also improved on the second day, improving on his day 1 time by nine tenths of a second with a new best lap time of 2:01.933, eighth fastest on the day. LCR Honda‘s Stefan Bradl was 11th fastest with a best lap time of 2:02.414.