Casey Stoner was back on track with the Ducati Desmosedici GP for the first time since the Valencia GP in 2010. The 2007 and 2011 World Champion completed 54 laps of the Sepang circuit, temperatures reaching about 40°C. The Australia ran on the GP15 as he acquainted himself with the new machine as well as the vastly different Michelin tyres and spec ECU. He reportedly set a best time of 2’02.1 during his last stint of the day. With the change in technical rules and tyre supplier, there are no other times to compare Stoner’s lap to around the Malaysian track.
While much of the attention was on Stoner, Michele Pirro debuted the GP16 with a focus on testing fuel consumption.
Casey Stoner: “It was a great experience today with the Ducati Team. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but the whole team was fantastic: I was welcomed in the best way and we worked well together. I still need a little more time to return to a competitive level and find the right feeling because I haven’t ridden a MotoGP bike for a year and haven’t been on a race bike for six months. But it was a positive first day, we immediately found a good feeling with the bikes and tyres, quicker than I would have expected. We have many things to try and I still have to get used to the bike, but overall I’m happy. The Desmosedici GP has great potential and I hope to be able to give the right feedback to Gigi and the Ducati engineers to help the two Andreas get some good results this year. I’m happy and a bit surprised with my lap time and I hope to improve it further tomorrow. It was great to be working with Gabriel Conti again together with Marco Palmerini and Gigi Dall’Igna, who have all proven true professionals today.”
Michele Pirro: “Today I only did a few laps because the program was focused on testing electrical components and fuel consumption, once my work was finished the team focused on the debut of Casey. Tomorrow we will do some finishing touches before the three-day official test on Monday. The sensation was good and already on Wednesday we were able to do a good job. I am convinced that we can achieve good results and Iannone and Dovizioso are confident too, despite the track conditions not being optimal.”