Casey Stoner sets Sepang MotoGP testing pace for Ducati

Ducati test rider Casey Stoner set the pace on the first day of MotoGP's official pre-season running at Sepang

Casey Stoner sets Sepang MotoGP testing pace for Ducati

The two-time MotoGP champion rode at the Malaysian Grand Prix circuit last week in a private session, and joined the full field for the first of three days of testing on Monday.

Stoner set a 1m59.681s on the 2017 Ducati just after 1pm local time, displacing the Italian manufacturer's race rider Andrea Dovizioso at the top of the order.

Dovizioso finished 0.115 seconds slower than Stoner, while new Ducati recruit Jorge Lorenzo was a quiet 17th, 1.669s adrift.

Ducati's primary test rider Michele Pirro will take over from Stoner on Tuesday before a decision is made on who will join Dovizioso and Lorenzo on track on the third and final day.

A rain shower hit the circuit at 4pm local time, making the last two hours of available running a write-off, although some riders did sample the wet conditions.

Lorenzo's replacement at Yamaha, Maverick Vinales, was Ducati's closest challenger in third place, and he finished the day 0.447s slower than Stoner with a time of 2m00.128s.

Valentino Rossi was eighth and 0.567s behind his new team-mate.

Aspar Ducati recruit Alvaro Bautista was fourth-fastest on his 2016 Desmosedici, having led the way early, one spot ahead of new Suzuki signing Andrea Iannone.

Cal Crutchlow was the best of the Honda riders on his satellite LCR entry in sixth, with factory pair Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa ninth and 13th.

Of this year's four rookies, Jonas Folger led the way in seventh place, six spots ahead of Tech3 Yamaha team-mate Johann Zarco, with Suzuki's Alex Rins in 20th and Aprilia's Sam Lowes 26th.

While Lowes is spending this test on last year's Aprilia, Aleix Espargaro was 15th fastest on its bike with a heavily-revised engine.

Pol Espargaro was the best of the new KTMs, one spot behind his brother with a 2m01.338s that was 1.657s off Stoner's pace, while Bradley Smith wound up 27th and the last of the runners, 3.353s adrift.

MONDAY TESTING TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Casey Stoner Ducati Ducati 1m59.680s - 32
2 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Ducati 1m59.797s 0.117s 29
3 Maverick Vinales Yamaha Yamaha 2m00.129s 0.449s 54
4 Alvaro Bautista Aspar Ducati Ducati 2m00.134s 0.454s 53
5 Andrea Iannone Suzuki Suzuki 2m00.489s 0.809s 44
6 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Honda 2m00.569s 0.889s 44
7 Jonas Folger Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 2m00.643s 0.963s 40
8 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Yamaha 2m00.694s 1.014s 27
9 Marc Marquez Honda Honda 2m00.738s 1.058s 56
10 Hector Barbera Avintia Ducati Ducati 2m00.743s 1.063s 38
11 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati Ducati 2m00.850s 1.170s 34
12 Scott Redding Pramac Ducati Ducati 2m00.853s 1.173s 44
13 Dani Pedrosa Honda Honda 2m00.970s 1.290s 44
14 Johann Zarco Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 2m01.224s 1.544s 69
15 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia Aprilia 2m01.272s 1.592s 36
16 Pol Espargaro KTM KTM 2m01.338s 1.658s 58
17 Jorge Lorenzo Ducati Ducati 2m01.349s 1.669s 45
18 Loris Baz Avintia Ducati Ducati 2m01.352s 1.672s 48
19 Takuya Tsuda Suzuki Suzuki 2m01.812s 2.132s 79
20 Alex Rins Suzuki Suzuki 2m01.890s 2.210s 52
21 Karel Abraham Aspar Ducati Ducati 2m01.926s 2.246s 45
22 Jack Miller MVDS Honda Honda 2m01.943s 2.263s 51
23 Kohta Nozane Yamaha Yamaha 2m02.187s 2.507s 36
24 Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha Yamaha 2m02.291s 2.611s 45
25 Tito Rabat MVDS Honda Honda 2m02.315s 2.635s 37
26 Sam Lowes Aprilia Aprilia 2m02.943s 3.263s 50
27 Bradley Smith KTM KTM 2m03.033s 3.353s 49

MICHELIN STARTS TESTING TYRE TECH

By Oriol Puigdemont

MotoGP's tyre supplier Michelin completed a trial of this year's new system to easily identify tyre compounds on Monday.

Two unnamed riders sampled the system in which existing tyre sensors inside the rim track the fitted compound, complemented by a check of its barcode by a technician.

The information is then displayed on the bike's dashboard, and relayed through the timing system when a rider crosses the first timing point, with promoter Dorna expected to incorporate that data into broadcasts.

Michelin has brought three front compounds - soft, medium and hard - with the same casing used in last year's Valencia season finale to the test.

The same compounds are on offer for the rear with a casing used in 2016, while an additional medium uses a new construction trialled during last November's Jerez running.

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