Stoner sets the standards in Sepang

Day two of the Sepang test saw Casey Stoner on track for the first time in 2012 and the reigning world champion showed no ill effects of the back injury that sidelined him on Monday by recording the fastest time of the day.

Stoner completed 29 laps aboard his Honda to outpace the factory Yamaha pair of Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo by over one tenth of a second. Stoner’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, was fourth fastest.

Cal Crutchlow had an encouraging afternoon to finish fifth fastest while the busiest rider of the day was Karel Abraham; the Czech rider completing 66 tours of the Malaysian circuit.

After the day’s running was completed it was clear to see the effect that the conditions had on riders with Lorenzo saying:

“Today I was much more tired than yesterday so it was tough to finish with a good pace but we managed it. We didn’t find any big improvements but some small details,” said Lorenzo. “Tomorrow we hope to make one big step. We improved our lap times a lot in the morning but in the afternoon when it was even hotter we managed to go faster which is very positive.”

The Spanish star had set the pace on Tuesday but it was clear that after time off the bike his body still needs to readapt to the strains of riding.

Valentino Rossi was seventh fastest but the Italian found reason for optimism:

“It was another positive day, both because we achieved our goal of lapping at 2:01 and because we managed to make further progress with the bike’s setup. On the other hand, as is normal with a brand-new bike like the GP12, as we progress with our tests we also find other details that can’t be addressed with setup alone and that will therefore have to be perfected in the coming weeks. We had already identified those areas yesterday as acceleration and electronics.”

Rossi’s teammate, Nicky Hayden only completed 16 laps before his shoulder injury forced him to spend the rest of the day on the sidelines.

The reigning Moto2 world champion, Stefan Bradl, had an encouraging day by finishing up 1.2s off the pace of Stoner. The German has a steep learning curve ahead of him as a class rookie but he seemed pleased afterwards when he told reporters:

“Today has been a full day of work for me and the guys. We made some good steps forward in our ‘to do’ list including suspension regulations, chassis geometry adjustments and some electronics,” he said. “I found the bike easier to ride and my fastest lap time came early in the morning and I was very pleased with that.”

The three test will conclude tomorrow.

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