Stoner Sets Pace on Day One at Sepang

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Casey Stoner led a factory Ducati 1-2 as pre-season testing officially got underway at Sepang on Monday. Much of the focus was on Ducati’s new signing Jorge Lorenzo but their retired two-time MotoGP champion stole the headlines, topping the timesheets ahead of Andrea Dovizioso before rain cut the day short.

Ducati turned heads at their private Sepang test last week with a striking new exhaust on their new Desmosedici GP but Lorenzo spent much of the day on their 2016 challenger, winding up seventeenth in the final standings. With no need to adjust to new machinery, Stoner and Dovizioso got straight on with development work on the new machine and were the only two riders to break the two minute barrier on day one.

Maverick Vinales was the story of testing last time out at Valencia and the Spaniard continued to impress in Movistar Yamaha colours, finishing the day in third spot ahead of Alvaro Bautista who had topped the timesheets early in the morning session for Aspar Ducati. Andrea Iannone’s strong start with Suzuki continued with fifth while Cal Crutchlow completed the top six.

The next Yamaha came in the form of leading rookie Jonas Folger, the German Moto2 graduate finishing a superb seventh ahead of factory colleague Valentino Rossi who suffered from a headache early in the day. Reigning world champion Marc Marquez was one of the most active riders in the wet, although his pace in the dry was only good enough for ninth, while Hector Barbera rounded out the top ten.

Of the other manufacturers, Aleix Espargaro finished fifteenth for Aprilia, just 1.592s off the ultimate pace, with his brother Pol taking KTM’s new challenger to sixteenth, a tenth further back. Their respective British teammates had tough days by comparison with Sam Lowes and Bradley Smith at the bottom of the leaderboard although the former was simply glad to be back in action after injuring himself at Valencia.


2017 MotoGP Official Pre-Season Test: Sepang (Day One)

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