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Stoner back in the groove as Valencia test gets underway

Stoner back in the groove as Valencia test gets underway

Ducati Marlboro rider recovers from his non-start in Sunday’s race to lead the timesheet at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit on Monday, as the post-season test begins.

Casey Stoner was back out on the track at Valencia following his warm-up lap crash prior to Sunday’s race and showed no signs of apprehension, as he set the first test day’s fastest lap on his Desmosedici.

Stoner had qualified on pole position for the final race of the season and on Monday afternoon he went round in a best time of 1’32.660, which topped the timesheet and left him 0.025s clear of the rest of the field. It was the perfect response from the 2007 World Champion, who had stated his aim to use the disappointing end to his season to motivate himself in testing.

At such a close margin, Jorge Lorenzo’s intentions were clearly stated in second place as the 2009 World Championship runner-up kept a close tab on Stoner. The Spaniard was just over 0.1s off his Sunday qualifying time on his factory Yamaha machine.

Valentino Rossi, who rounded off his championship-winning season with his 13th podium of the campaign at the weekend, rolled out a new prototype M1 on which he completed 37 laps, recording a best time which left him just 0.166s down on Stoner’s time.

Fresh from his race win over the weekend, Dani Pedrosa ensured it was the Championship top four occupying the same spots on the first day. The Spaniard is testing two Honda bikes, one with the Showa suspension with which he started the season and one with the Ohlins system, which has been incorporated into the Repsol Honda package over the course of the season.

Within a second of Stoner’s time was his Ducati Marlboro team-mate Nicky Hayden, as was Ben Spies whose first outing for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 was a productive day as the Texan completed 50 laps. Andrea Dovizioso, also testing the Ohlins suspension on his Honda RC212V, Mika Kallio (Pramac Racing) Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) and Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) all also recorded top ten lap times.

Experiencing their first tests on MotoGP machines were Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini), Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP) and Héctor Barberá (Aspar Team), with newly-crowned 250cc World Champion Hiroshi Aoyama testing on Honda machinery. Of the upcoming 250cc riders, Simoncelli was the fastest on day one of the test, completing 51 laps with a best time just over 2.5s off Stoner.

Monday also saw further glimpses of the Moto2 prototypes being tested ahead of their introduction for the 2010 season, with CEV Buckler (Spanish National Championship) regular Kenny Noyes the fastest timed rider of a group which included Ratthapark Wilairot, Héctor Faubel and Scott Redding (all Stop and Go – FTR), Shogo Moriwaki (Gresini Moto2 Team – Moriwaki), and Joan Olivé (Promoracing – Promo-Harris).

To see a full list of Monday’s Official Valencia Test lap times click here

MotoGP, 2009

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