Sepang MotoGP official3 days test are over and some things about 2016 season are already clrear.
The two Yamahas are on top of the chart. Iwata engineers evolved the already super-competitive 2015 bike to deal with Michelin tyres and new electronics.
What about the HRC team? Hondas seemed to struggle more than the others dealing with the transition to the new package with new tyres and above everything, with the electronics.
This was just test days, but the bike looks far from where it was during the 2015 season (Dani Pedrosa won the Sepang race for instance, and after the tests Pedrosa remarked that they have never been this far from their competitors during pre-season tests).
Speaking of Ducati, comes natural to talk about Casey Stoner. His return to the red team generated much enthusiasm. In fact, last Ducati MotoGP grand prix victory (dated 2010) was signed by Stoner. Can you blame us? Let's see what's going on with the Ducati Team.
While testing the GP15 in Sepang, Stoner was1.490 s behind Yamaha pace setter Jorge Lorenzo, but 1\2 second only from Valentino Rossi. The guys from Borgo Panigale hired the "Number 27" as test rider for 2016 in order to speed up the Desmosedici development. Stoner's long inactivity period on MotoGP bikes, seemed not have big impact however. The 30 years old, retired back in 2012 and since than happened to ride a MotoGP only 3 or four times. He did last test on Honda prototype one year ago, so it was natural to expect some rust to be removed from his right wrist.
That said, Stoner didn't cared very much and set the 5th best lap time ahead Pedrosa's HRC and last but not least, ahead all Ducati riders. Moreover, while the two Andreas Iannone and Dovizioso, tested the new Ducati Desmosedici (spec 2016) Stoner rode only the GP15.
Asked about Ducati potential and if according to him Ducati could run for the championship...Stoner replied:
“I've been happy with the bike, and this is last year's version.
I'm looking forward to testing some of the updated parts for this year and seeing what the differences are.
Honestly, I'm not racing and I have no plan to, so I can't really comment in that way, but I would say that the bike is definitely championship material"
Unfortunately at the moment Casey has no plans to race, but apart Ducati Corse guys of course, thousands of supporters hope that he will change his mind... for motorcycling sake!
Stoner will not attend to the remaining official pre-season practice, at Phillip island and Losail tests, but will make a private test in the Qatar circuit just before the season-opening race. This is because likely, Ducati need to keep their factory riders in the right mood before the season begins.
As reported by MotoMatters, Stoner said: “We don’t really want to overcomplicate things”. “The riders want to do their testing with (the GP16) first. Maybe I’ll get an opportunity in the future"