Second Sepang Test Finishes with Casey Stoner on Top

The third and final day of the second pre-season MotoGP Test at Sepang concluded on Thursday, and rounding off the three days as the fastest rider on each was Casey Stoner. Getting well under the 2’00” mark with a best effort of 1’59.665 – Valentino Rossi’s 2009 circuit best lap had already been surpassed by both Stoner and Dani Pedrosa the previous day – the Australian continued what has been an impressive switch to the RC212V in the lead-up to the 2011 campaign.

It was a notable Test for the Honda in general and the RC212V filled the top four positions on the final day. Joining Stoner under two minutes was his team-mate Pedrosa, who with a best effort of 1’59.803 was just over a tenth of a second behind his colleague. Both have spent the Test comparing chassis options and working on braking stability.

Marco Simoncelli, fastest here three weeks ago, was third with a best time of 2’00.163 and the San Carlo Honda Gresini man was satisfied with his performance on both hard and soft tyres across the entire three days. The outstanding issue for the Italian remains edge grip. Third Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso was the final rider to get within a second of his team-mate Stoner, posting a fastest time of 2’00.541.

Following the quartet of Hondas were a trio of Yamahas, with factory team rider Ben Spies the highest placing M1 on Thursday in fifth position. Concluding his day early due to some remaining effects of his late crash the previous day, the American focused on electronics and chassis work in the morning, timing in with a 2’00.678 to close the day at 1.013s off Stoner. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards also finished up early on day three but not before registering a best time of 2’00.966, placing him just ahead of World Champion Jorge Lorenzo. The Factory Yamaha Racing rider is still adamant that the M1 requires more power to be able to match its rivals, and his 48 laps on Thursday produced a best time of 2’01.003 that was just over 1.3s off Stoner’s benchmark.

Álvaro Bautista occupied eighth spot as he topped a trio of riders preparing for their second season in the premier class. The Rizla Suzuki rider finished ahead of Hiroshi Aoyama, who escaped a crash at Turn 9 without problems, and Héctor Barberá who was the highest placing Ducati on the final day on his Mapfre Aspar machine which had a new fairing.

Returning to action after his enforced absence through illness the day before, Valentino Rossi put in 59 laps on his factory Ducati as he sought the maximum out of the final day. The Italian ended 11th on the timesheet with a time of 2’01.469, an effort matched by his team-mate Nicky Hayden and which left the pair 1.804s from the top. The American appeared to have resolved the bulk of the problem he had with chatter on his GP11, but still has a remaining issue in turning.

Loris Capirossi’s Pramac Racing Desmosedici was close behind in 13th, with British rookie Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing), Toni Elías (LCR Honda) and Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) completing the final-day timesheet.