Casey Stoner to go up against 2016 MotoGP field in test for Ducati

Casey Stoner will go up against the full MotoGP field in official pre-season testing at Sepang next week for the first time since his retirement at the end of 2012

Casey Stoner to go up against 2016 MotoGP field in test for Ducati

Ducati has decided to put Stoner out on one of the three days of official testing at the Malaysian Grand Prix venue rather than running him in Sunday's private session as originally planned.

The team has not yet revealed which day Stoner will run. The test takes place from Monday to Wednesday.

Test rider Michele Pirro is now representing Ducati solo on Sunday, starting on the 2016 bike before using the '15 model for electronics work.

Stoner had begun his return to Ducati - which he has rejoined in a test and ambassadorial role - with 54 laps on the 2015 Desmosedici on Saturday.

His best time of 2m02.1s was within seven tenths of a second of Ducati's best race lap from last year's grand prix.

A direct comparison was difficult given the track was dirty after little recent use, and the Ducati was now running on the Michelins that are replacing Bridgestone as MotoGP's control tyre from 2016.

Stoner declared himself satisfied with his pace at the end of Saturday's running.

"I'm pretty happy and surprised with my lap time to be honest," he said.

"I need some time to get back to speed and get the feeling back, because I haven't ridden a MotoGP bike for one year and any bike at all for six months.

"It was a very productive first day, we got comfortable with the bike and the tyres a lot more quickly than I thought I would."

Ducati and Stoner have both played down the chances of the Australian contesting any races this season, though reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo is among those certain he will.

Though Stoner retired from MotoGP aged only 27 in 2012, he later rejoined Honda in a test role and was frustrated not to be allowed to race when Dani Pedrosa was sidelined early last year.

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Casey Stoner begins Ducati MotoGP test return at Sepang

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