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Stoner, Pedrosa and Dovizioso off to a strong start at Sepang

Stoner, Pedrosa and Dovizioso off to a strong start at Sepang

The Repsol Honda trio were back on track on Tuesday at the Malaysian circuit for the first official three-day test of the year.

Repsol Honda riders Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso started an intensive Testing schedule on the first of three days at Sepang on Tuesday, dividing out the Japanese factory’s planned workload and completing a highly satisfactory opening session.

Dovizioso started the day riding his RC212V with a 2011 front fork and also tried the new version of the bike’s chassis for the first time. Stoner and Pedrosa kept the 2010 suspension as the Australian set the best time of the day with a 2’01.574, whilst his Spanish team-mate enjoyed a positive feeling as he tested out his recovering collarbone.

”It’s been a very positive day,” said Stoner. “We didn't change the set-up too much compared to the one we had in Valencia and I am pleased to see that even if the circuit is different, it still works pretty well here in Sepang. We did some work later on with the engine braking to decrease some chattering and looks like we found a good solution. In the next two days we will start testing something new but for me, it was a very good way to come back on track after the winter break.”

Likewise Pedrosa was also very satisfied after the opening day, and said: "My priority was to see how I was on the bike after so long without riding and the feeling has been positive. Obviously I still have less strength under braking and lack of stability in the shoulder with the direction changes, but the cramps have gone and this is very positive for me. I started with the 2010 bike to get the feeling back and because in the second half of the season our bike was competitive, and we want to begin improving from there. Then I tried a new swingarm and a new chassis, in the last two runs, and my best lap time has been with the new parts, so it's also positive. The plan for tomorrow (Wednesday) is to test the new engine."

For Dovizioso the biggest highlight of the day was how well all three riders eased back into being comfortable and quick after more than two months off.

"I’m happy because this year we are starting from a very good base. All Honda riders are very competitive so I’m confident and this is an extra boost for me,” he said. “Today we tested the new engine, it has more power in the low revs and this helps me with the line. We also tested the new chassis and it has some positive and negative points and we need to understand it better. We did a comparison work with the 2010 and 2011 fork, the stability in the front has improved but we must rectify some vibrations in the middle of the corner, together with work on the suspension. I lapped at two-tenths from the first riders when they were using the same tyre, choosing not to use the soft tyre in the end because we focused on understanding the new machine."

MotoGP, 2011, Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso, Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda Team

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