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Stoner tops testing with new Ducati

Casey Stoner at BarcelonaWorld champion Casey Stoner finished on top of the times on the opening day of post-race testing at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The Ducati rider, third in Sunday's race, posted a best time of 1:41.533 on a day where the Italian squad's new GP9 made its public debut.

Both Stoner and test riders Vittoriano Guareschi and Niccolo Canepa got a taste of the new bike, which has a carbon fibre chassis. Marco Melandri is scheduled to run with the GP9 tomorrow.

Australian Stoner was pleased with the initial impressions of the new bike.

"I'm happy with the way today has gone," said Stoner. "The objective was to understand whether this new chassis concept has potential and I'd say that for now it looks to be the case. We were quickly into some decent times using the same set-up as the GP8.

"We barely changed anything to adapt it to the characteristics of the GP9 and I immediately felt an improvement so that is positive. I'm sure that with more time to work on it we can go much faster, although that is not the current brief. We'll have time to test it in the winter."

Valentino Rossi was second quickest with the Yamaha, and the Italian was positive after making progress on solving the problems he suffered during the Catalan Grand Prix.

"Once again we've had a very positive day's testing, and it's been good to have the time to work through some of the problems we had at the weekend in order to completely understand what happened," said Rossi.

"We mainly worked on setting and tyres and, together with Bridgestone, we got some good information that we are sure will help us over the next two races.

"With qualifying tyres we were able to improve our time from Saturday, so this is also a good outcome. Finally we also worked on our starts, in order to try to improve the beginning of the race for us. We are satisfied with the day's work and now we're looking forward to the next races."

Shinya Nakano was third quickest, ahead of James Toseland and Alex de Angelis, who completed the top five.

Nicky Hayden, testing with both the old and the new pneumatic-valve Honda engines, was sixth fastest while Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa finished his day early after a heavy crash.

The Spaniard lost control of his bike in the afternoon and suffered a high side, landing heavily on his back. Pedrosa will need to rest and so will miss tomorrow's final day of testing.

Pos  Rider           Bike            Time         
 1.  Stoner          Ducati          1:41.533
 2.  Rossi           Yamaha          1:41.857
 3.  Nakano          Honda           1:42.039
 4.  Toseland        Yamaha          1:42.505
 5.  De Angelis      Honda           1:42.699
 6.  Hayden          Honda           1:42.721
 7.  Guintoli        Ducati          1:42.755
 8.  De Puniet       Honda           1:42.775
 9.  Vermeulen       Suzuki          1:42.782
10.  Dovizioso       Honda           1:42.818
11.  Edwards         Yamaha          1:43.127
12.  Elias           Ducati          1:43.197
13.  Pedrosa         Honda           1:43.552
14.  Hopkins         Kawasaki        1:43.630
15.  Melandri        Ducati          1:44.326

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