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Stoner leads day one at Sepang

Image of Casey Stoner in testing at Sepang

Official Moto GP Testing in Sepang Day 1

The second official 2011 pre-season MotoGP Test rounded off its opening day at Sepang with Casey Stoner top of the timesheet, as the Australian set the only lap under 2’01” on Tuesday. With an effort of 2’00.987 inside the final hour, Stoner was followed by team-mate Dani Pedrosa (+0.373s) for a Repsol Honda one-two at the top.

In typically sweltering conditions and with a general lack of grip being reported by the riders the duo of RC212Vs were followed on the timesheet by a brace of Yamaha M1s. First up was the factory machine of World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, who at 0.481s off Stoner had spent the day trying a modified chassis in a bid to deal with a chatter problem encountered last time out at this track. Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards was just over two-tenths further back in fourth.

Third Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso rounded out the day fifth fastest with a time of 2’01.747, with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies close behind (+0.061s on the Italian) as the American concentrated on his M1 setting. Two more RC212Vs made it five inside the top eight as San Carlo Honda Gresini pair Hiroshi Aoyama and Marco Simoncelli finished within six-hundredths of one another. The Japanese rider was looking to define his suspension and rear grip and was the final rider within a second of Stoner, whilst Simoncelli worked towards better grip and braking performance having set the best time at the previous Test.

The highest placing Ducati on day one was the factory GP11 of Valentino Rossi, notably without the ‘wings’ that had featured on the fairing of the Desmosedici at its official presentation in January. Appearing to enjoy an improved comfort in his shoulder in comparison to three weeks ago the Italian worked on his set-up and on fixing his anti-wheelie setting, posting a best lap of 2’01.999 which was 1.012s off Stoner.

Álvaro Bautista, the Rizla Suzuki rider, completed the top ten (+1.237s on Stoner) as he set about adjusting the electronics on his GSV-R (he was accompanied on track by Suzuki Test rider Nobu Aoki).

Mapfre Aspar rider Héctor Barberá and Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden both experienced crashes during the earlier half of the day and escaped uninjured, finally placing their respective Desmosedicis 11th and 12th, whilst Toni Elías enjoyed a step forward with his LCR Honda in 13th.

Randy de Puniet avoided injury when he crashed, whilst British rookie Cal Crutchlow also fell at the end of the day. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider was still suffering from the lingering effects of a bout of food poisoning he picked up en route to Malaysia.

The Ducatis of Loris Capirossi (Pramac Racing) and Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) completed the timesheet, the rookie experiencing a non-consequential fall around midday.

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Image and story courtesy of Moto GP.com