“Everything went really well today”
Bright sunshine and 25 degrees celsius temperatures provided perfect conditions for Casey Stoner and Marco Melandri as they took to the Phillip Island circuit for the first of three days of testing alongside the majority of MotoGP teams
It proved to be a positive day for both Ducati Marlboro Team riders, who recorded impressive lap times on a race setting. Stoner racked up 29 laps in 1'30 whilst experimenting with set-up and tyres, giving highly encouraging feedback on the new Bridgestone rubber. The World Champion is also continuing to regain strength in the shoulder he injured at Jerez towards the end of November, so much so that today he was able to complete a total of 73 laps.
Marco Melandri was also satisfied after completing just shy of 100 laps, making good progress with the base setting of his GP8 in both the cycle part and engine. He did not try the Japanese tyre manufacturer's latest offerings today but will start to do so tomorrow.
Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro Team), best time: 1'30.178 (73 laps)
"Everything went really well today, the feeling with the bike was perfect almost straight away. The new Bridgestones, which had already given us positive feedback at Sepang, also worked perfectly here at Phillip Island - one of them in particular improves the bike a lot in the exit of the corners, especially in the final section of the track. We've also taken a step forward with some small changes to the front, which have made the bike more stable and improved grip to the point where my best time came without pushing, on a tyre that already had 17 laps on it. I'm also really happy with the latest specs of the engine and the way it is responding under acceleration coming out of the corners. The weather was basically perfect all day apart from when the wind picked up a little in the afternoon but the smaller fairing, which we used for the race here in October, meant that it wasn't a problem. Towards the end of the day my shoulder was a little sore because this is such a physical track, with a lot of fast corners, but it is still better than it was in Malaysia."
Marco Melandri (Ducati Marlboro Team), best time: 1'30.869 (99 laps)
"I'm really happy today because I finally feel as though I'm riding the bike more or less as I should. We knew that Phillip Island would be better for us and that's proved to be the case. The feeling was good from the first lap, thanks also to the things we learnt in the last test.
At Sepang I probably changed the balance of the bike too much, trying to make it more similar to what I have ridden in the past, whereas here we've just tried to find a good base set-up, which has made it more manageable in the corners and less nervous. I am happy even though we're still not at 100%. We've actually got plans to try something new with the weight distribution tomorrow and we want to continue working on the electronics to try and improve the power delivery even more, then we can start tyre testing. In any case we've made a great start here."