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Stoner leads the way on rain affected day two in Australia

Stoner leads the way on rain affected day two in Australia

World Champion Casey Stoner was the fastest participant on day two of the second MotoGP test of 2008, with the early Thursday proceedings hampered by rain at Phillip Island, only for the sun to emerge later in the day.

World Champion Casey Stoner was the fastest participant on day two of the second MotoGP test of 2008, with the early Thursday proceedings hampered by rain at Phillip Island, only for the sun to emerge later in the day.

The Ducati Marlboro rider produced a best time of 1'29.938s on race tyres in the last hour of the day, on the 43rd of 45 laps, to improve on his quickest lap from Wednesday.

Once again impressive were 2008 MotoGP newcomers Alex de Angelis (Honda Gresini) and Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot) who concluded the day second and third respectively – De Angelis just over half a second behind Stoner and Dovizioso 1.136s behind the premier class title holder, both courtesy of hot times shortly before 6pm.

De Angelis' new team-mate Shinya Nakano appears to be enjoying life having also joined Honda Gresini this winter and he lapped fourth quickest, whilst Repsol Honda's Nicky Hayden completed the top five.

The morning session was marked by some heavy early rain which left the riders with wet conditions to deal with for the first few hours of the day. By 11am only 11 riders had been out on track with the early starters including Rizla Suzuki pair Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen, Ducati Marlboro's Marco Melandri and Yamaha Tech3's James Toseland.

The ambient temperature of 16°C, track temperature of 19°C and the water on track gave the teams a chance to test wet settings and rain tyres, with lap times around 10 seconds off dry pace. Though the rain continued for most of the morning it became lighter as time passed.

There were a couple of crashes on the slippery surface with the red flag raised twice as Dovizioso crashed without consequence and John Hopkins had a tumble which resulted in a damaged groin muscle. The Kawasaki man visited the Phillip Island medical centre and then headed to a Melbourne hospital for a scan of the delicate injury, where a torn abductor muscle was the diagnosis – meaning Hopkins misses the last day of the test and heads home to California for treatment.

On the wet track Stoner went quickest, with a 1'39.8s effort, whilst Dovizioso was impressively just 0.5s behind the MotoGP title holder. Melandri completed a trio of names on the timesheet with sub 1'41.0s laps.

Between 1pm and 2pm there were no riders on track as the rain stopped and conditions became intermediate, with the teams taking a break for lunch.

Towards 3pm the sunshine had replaced the rain clouds and with the track drying rapidly teams reverted to slick tyres as the lap times subsequently began to drop, with normal pace resumed by the late afternoon.

At the end of the day Stoner commented: "Today I set my fastest lap on tyres that had 22 laps on them and that is really positive because it means that the modifications we tried on the set-up have had the desired effect, which was to increase tyre durability. This also allows us to consider using softer tyres, at least in the odd race."

He continued: "This morning I went out twice for just 5 laps each to verify engine response, which is now smoother at the bottom end; everything worked brilliantly and I'm really pleased. The track conditions were never perfect but with some changes to the rear suspension we were able to set some fast times, all of them on race tyres. I think it will be possible to repeat those times in the race here too because the new Bridgestones are even better than the ones we used last year. Hopefully the weather is good tomorrow so that we can complete a race simulation."

Phillip Island MotoGP 2008 winter test – day two – best lap times (Number of laps in brackets)

1. STONER, DUCATI MARLBORO - 1'29.938 (45)
2. DE ANGELIS, HONDA GRESINI - 1'30.449 (54)
3. DOVIZIOSO, JiR TEAM SCOT - 1'31.074 (60)
4. NAKANO, HONDA GRESINI - 1'31.316 (74)
5. HAYDEN, REPSOL HONDA TEAM - 1'31.373 (72)
6. TOSELAND, YAMAHA TECH3 - 1'31.451 (55)
7. MELANDRI, DUCATI MARLBORO - 1'31.478 (80)
8. CAPIROSSI, RIZLA SUZUKI - 1'31.545 (62)
9. DE PUNIET, LCR HONDA - 1'31.575 (72)
10. EDWARDS, YAMAHA TECH3 - 1'31.593 (44)
11. VERMEULEN, RIZLA SUZUKI - 1'31.774 (50)
12. WEST, KAWASAKI RACING - 1'32.242 (75)
13. ELIAS, ALICE TEAM - 1'32.246 (59)
14. GUINTOLI, ALICE TEAM - 1'32.431 (64)
15. HOPKINS, KAWASAKI RACING - 1'42.130 (27)

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008

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