SEPANG, Malaysia – official team release — Ducati photo —
Casey Stoner had a successful return to the track Saturday on the Ducati Team’s Ducati Desmosedici GP at the Sepang Int’l Circuit in Malaysia.
It was a welcome return for the 30-year-old Australian rider and two-time MotoGP world champion, who had not ridden a Ducati since the Valencia round in 2010.
Stoner moved to Repsol Honda in 2011 and spent two seasons with the Japanese marque before announcing his retirement. Back on with Ducati as a test rider, Stoner completed 54 laps on the 2015 model Desmosedici GP machine, setting a best time of 2:02.1 on his final run late in the afternoon.
“It’s been a really good experience with the Ducati Team,” Stoner said. “I wasn’t too sure what to expect but everybody has been fantastic, welcoming me and working with me to try and get the best out of myself and this bike. I need some time to get back to speed and get the feeling back, because I haven’t ridden a MotoGP bike for one year and any bike at all for six months. It was a very productive first day, we got comfortable with the bike and the tires a lot more quickly than I thought I would.
“We’ve got a lot of things to test and get myself a little bit more acquainted with the bike but generally I’m very happy. The Desmosedici GP has a lot of potential, hopefully we can give the right input and help the two Andreas to try and achieve something great this year. I’m pretty happy and surprised with my lap time to be honest, hopefully the next day we can be a bit more comfortable after sleeping on it.”
Michele Pirro also went out on track this morning, but just for a few laps. The Italian rider tested a 2016-spec Desmosedici GP bike fully equipped with instruments and sensors and also carried out a fuel consumption test.
Both Ducati test riders will be back on track Sunday for the last day of private testing, before the official IRTA test that runs Feb. 1-3.
CREDIT: Ducati Corse