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Slow start no worry for Stoner and Melandri

Slow start no worry for Stoner and Melandri

Given a chance to assess the condition of his shoulder on-track for the first time since November, MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner had perhaps a lighter schedule than he would have liked on the opening day of testing in Sepang.

Given a chance to assess the condition of his shoulder on-track for the first time since November, MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner had perhaps a lighter schedule than he would have liked on the opening day of testing in Sepang. The Australian was forced to spend the best part of the morning in the Ducati garage as his mechanics attempted to solve an electrical problem with the Desmosedici GP8, before finally managing to undertake an extended run on the bike after the early afternoon break and elevate himself to fifth on the timesheets.

"This morning we spent a lot of time in the garage, and only did a few laps just trying to get things sorted with the bike," the 22 year-old explained to motogp.com. "We know what the problem is, and we're just basically using this visit to Sepang as a tyre test. We just need tomorrow and the day after to get feedback from that; things seemed to go a lot better this afternoon."

Fans and rivals alike were keen to see what shape Stoner was in after a winter break spent recovering from an injury which, thankfully, did not require surgery. The factory rider was tender but in otherwise good condition after 36 laps of the Malaysian circuit, expecting to regain full fitness over the course of the preseason.

"I'm feeling a little sore on my left side, but no pain, so I've just got to work a lot more on the strength side of things," he concluded.

Teammate Marco Melandri was also affected by the same electrical problem, a cruel setback for the Italian as he attempts to get to grips with a bike very different to that which he is accustomed. The former Honda rider was understandably disappointed to have not had the chance to start 2008 strongly, although he remains positive about the change.

"Losing time this morning when we had to programme the new engine configuration meant that I couldn't get as many laps in as I'd wanted, but these things happen at the beginning," philosophised Melandri. "I want to say a big 'thank you' to Ducati Corse for changing the ergonomics of the bike as I requested after Jerez. Now the seat position is good for me and we can concentrate on working on the setting."

Both riders will continue testing for two more days in Sepang, before moving on to Stoner's home track of Phillip Island at the end of the month.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008, Casey Stoner, Ducati Marlboro Team

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