Sepang test concludes with Stoner on top
As the first MotoGP test of 2009 concluded it was Ducati’s Casey Stoner who sat proudly at the top of the Sepang timesheets.
Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner set the pace on the third and final test day in Malaysia on Saturday, registering a hot lap of 2’01.043 on the last of his 38 turns of the Sepang circuit to keep him ahead of the pack.
Having complained of continued pain in the wrist which hindered him in the second half of the 2008 season - the Australian is still recovering from the corrective surgery he underwent in November - Stoner kept his workload to a minimum but was still quick enough to end the day on top, by a 0.094s margin from rival Valentino Rossi.
Stoner commented, “Today wasn’t bad! The more I ride the GP9 the more we understand how to improve the set-up of the new chassis and today we made a big step forward with improving grip and feel with the new bike. Considering that I have recently had an operation and my wrist has still not full recovered, to be the fastest rider here is a dream to be honest. Now I have to work hard on improving my physical condition and recovering the level of movement I need to ride the bike properly without pain.”
”Now I know that I can step up training on my arm and hopefully the situation will have improved for the Qatar test. The fact we’ve gone to a single tyre rule doesn’t seem to have an adverse effect on the performance of the Bridgestones - they’re doing a great job, as usual.”
Fiat Yamaha star Rossi and his compatriot Loris Capirossi of Rizla Suzuki were both on the pace again, having also featured in the top three on Thursday and Friday. Capirossi went round 0.219s behind former team-mate Stoner, continuing with an encouraging rhythm onboard the significantly updated 2009 GSV-R.
Also in good form over the three days in Sepang, Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards was the fastest rider on satellite machinery, lapping fourth quickest on the new Yamaha M1 which he debuted on Thursday. Toni Elias’ best effort, meanwhile, was just half a second off Stoner’s pace and his performance on his factory spec San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V ensured there was top five representation on the timesheet from all four manufacturers present at Sepang.
Suzuki’s Chris Vermeulen and MotoGP sophomores Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha) and Andrea Dovzioso (Repsol Honda) also featured in the top eight. Dovizioso demonstrated a good pace but opted against a full race simulation as he resolved setting problems and further acquainted himself with his new Bridgestones, whilst Lorenzo enjoyed a successful race simulation and overcame some braking issues which had hindered him in the previous 48 hours as he too familiarised himself with new Japanese rubber.
The top ten was completed by an improved Mika Kallio, who overcame hitherto restrictive handling issues and fellow Ducati rider Nicky Hayden, the only crasher of the day on a troublesome piece of asphalt at turn two which had caught out other riders on the previous two days.
The results from the concluding day at Sepang.
Session 3 Results - 07/02/09
|Pos||Rider||Team||Fastest lap||Prev. Gap||Lead. Gap||Laps|
|1||Casey STONER||Ducati MarlboroTeam||2:01.043||-||-||38|
|2||Valentino ROSSI||Fiat Yamaha||2:01.137||+0.094||+0.094||43|
|3||Loris CAPIROSSI||Team Suzuki||2:01.262||+0.125||+0.219||60|
|4||Colin EDWARDS||Tech3 Yamaha||2:01.413||+0.151||+0.370||22|
|5||Toni ELIAS||San Carlo Honda Gresini||2:01.560||+0.147||+0.517||43|
|6||Chris VERMEULEN||Team Suzuki||2:01.666||+0.106||+0.623||48|
|7||Jorge LORENZO||Fiat Yamaha||2:01.907||+0.241||+0.864||61|
|8||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Repsol Honda||2:01.955||+0.048||+0.912||54|
|9||Mika KALLIO||Pramac Racing||2:02.386||+0.431||+1.343||61|
|10||Nicky HAYDEN||Ducati Marlboro Team||2:02.497||+0.111||+1.454||62|
|11||Alex DE ANGELIS||San Carlo Honda Gresini||2:02.523||+0.026||+1.480||32|
|12||Sete GIBERNAU||Guinea Ecuatorial||2:02.727||+0.204||+1.684||42|
|13||Randy DE PUNIET||LCR Honda||2:03.418||+0.691||+2.375||50|
|14||Yuki TAKAHASHI||Scot Racing Team||2:03.474||+0.056||+2.431||58|
|15||Niccolo CANEPA||Pramac Racing||2:03.901||+0.427||+2.858||41|
|16||James TOSELAND||Tech3 Yamaha||2:03.953||+0.052||+2.910||36|
|17||Yamaha Test||Yamaha Factory||2:04.328||+0.375||+3.285||38|
|18||Yamaha Test||Yamaha Factory||2:04.614||+0.286||+3.571||33|