Casey Stoner photo courtesy MotoGPEnlarge Photo
The strained back muscle that kept reigning MotoGP champion Casey Stoner out of action on Tuesday recovered sufficiently to have the Australian lead all comers in the second day of pre-season testing on the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
"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," Stoner said. "We spent most of the day on the new chassis, comparing it back to back with the one we had in Valencia; we found a good direction and where we want to go."
By the end of the day Stoner worked his way to the top of the time sheet, his 19th lap (of 29 total) aboard the RC213V Honda 1000-cc MotoGP bike stood as quickest of the day at 2:00.895. Yamaha Factory Team rider Ben Spies was second, just 0.157 seconds behind the leader at 2:01.052 on the YZR-M1, and his teammate, 2010 champion Jorge Lorenzo was a further 0.016 seconds (2:01.068) behind the Honda rider.
American Spies thought, "We got going pretty well in the morning. Even when the track started to slow down the pace was still really good," he said. "We started to mess with the balance of the bike a little today and played with the electronics to find a good foundation with the bike."
Lorenzo was "much more tired than yesterday so it was tough to finish with a good pace, but we managed it. We didn't find any big improvements, but some small details. Tomorrow we hope to make one big step," the Spaniard advised.
Stoner's teammate Dani Pedrosa was fourth (2:01.508) and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow took fifth (2:01.565), with Hector Barbera on the Pramac Racing Team Ducati sixth (2:01.788) and Valentino Rossi on the factory Ducati Team's GP12 seventh at 2:01.886, the only riders within a second of Stoner's time.
Rossi found it "another positive day because we achieved our goal of lapping at 2:01 and we managed to make further progress with the bike's setup." HIs teammate, American and 2006 champion Nicky Hayden had to sit out much of the day with pain in his injured left shoulder. Test rider Franco Battaini took over to complete scheduled test work. "When the bike shakes," Hayden said, "I don't have enough strength to hold on."
There were 18 riders on the circuit today. The Yamaha Factory team reported they spent the majority of the morning working on electronics and power delivery; Pedrosa said he was working on braking and corner entry, as well as testing some solutions to inherent chatter on the bike.
As he was on Tuesday, Colin Edwards was quickest of the CRT teams, lapping at 2:05.603 (+4.708 to the leader) during his 37 laps this afternoon. The American led three members of the Avintia Racing team, with Robertino Pietri the caboose in the 18-bike train, more than 11 seconds off the pace after only five laps.