Casey Stoner completed 16 laps during Friday's wet/dry free practice session for the British Grand Prix, the least of any rider, but was only beaten by Dani Pedrosa on the Spaniard's very last lap of the session.
Stoner was already back in the Ducati pit talking to his mechanics by the time he was demoted, having decided that wet tyres on an almost dry track was an unnecessary risk.
"It was good to be able to test the wet setting today because we've struggled with it a little this year and we need time to work out the best solution,” said Stoner, winner at Donington Park for the past two years. “We're still far from it at the moment but it felt quite good and we have a good base to work from now.
“Once we got some laps under our belt in the wet I decided to sit the rest of the session out because even though the track was drying it was very slippery and it would be foolish for us to risk an unnecessary crash on the first day of an important weekend,” he explained. “Hopefully we'll get a couple of sessions in the dry tomorrow and ideally, from our point of view, we'd like it to be cool."
Team-mate Nicky Hayden was tenth fastest during the unpredictable opening day.
“Typical British weather!” he began. “It's been like this since I got here at the start of the week. We started out in the wet and I didn't have much feel to begin with but we made a couple of changes and got better and better as the session went on. On the last lap I went straight in the last corner and ran wide so I made a little error there. Basically the bike didn't feel too good in the heavy rain but much better in the damp. The weather looks better for tomorrow so we hope that's the case because it was difficult to draw any conclusions today.”