Casey Stoner: Sepang ‘makes no sense’ as MotoGP test venue – MotoGP


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Two-time MotoGP champion Casey Stoner says it “makes no sense” for the series to have pre-season testing at Sepang.

Ducati’s Stoner was one of several test riders that took part in the three-day private test that precedes the start of official pre-season running on Sunday.

Sharing duties with fellow Ducati tester Michele Pirro, the Australian was originally scheduled to ride on Wednesday and Friday, but weather conditions meant he ended up riding on Thursday and sitting out Friday.

The Malaysian Grand Prix venue was resurfaced back in 2016 and now takes longer to dry out than it in the past, with modifications made in July last year to try to combat the issue.

“One of the conclusions we have drawn after this test is that these track conditions make such a mess of things,” Stoner told Autosport.

“The required time to dry out after the rain is too much.

“The work done here has been less than effective.

“Previously, we would come to Sepang during the pre-season because if it rained, the track would dry out in 20 minutes.

“With these conditions it makes no sense to test here.”

Stoner was more complimentary about Ducati’s GP18, declaring it has “no negatives” after trying it for the first time.

Stoner was the first rider to try out the GP18, the bike that factory riders Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso will campaign this year as Ducati chases its first MotoGP title in over a decade.

He said the Italian manufacturer has succeeded in mitigating the weakest points of the 2017 machine: a lack of mid-corner speed and engine management.

“We’ve done some steps forward in terms of chassis and some things regarding the engine. So far everything is positive, we haven’t found anything negative,” he said.

“I think it is very difficult to satisfy the requirements of a MotoGP rider, but I must say that we are going in the right direction. From now on, it’s a matter of getting more experience and start going forward.

“I can’t wait to know what Jorge and Dovi think about the new bike after trying it. Improving the weakest points of the past will be a huge step.”

Lorenzo and Dovizioso will get their first taste of the 2018 bike on the first day of official testing on Sunday, having run with a modified 2017 bike at Valencia and Jerez last November.

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