Images of Casey Stoner wrestling a bucking and weaving Ducati could be a thing of the past after the former MotoGP world champion revealed that his new 'big bang' powered Desmosedici GP10 is almost too tame.
The Australian was second fastest, behind Valentino Rossi, on both days of testing at Sepang in Malaysia, eventually finishing 0.395sec from Yamaha's reigning seven time world champion.
Rossi's M1 has used 'big bang' technology continuously since 2004, while Ducati reverted back to a 'screamer' design for the first three seasons of 800cc racing - with spectacular results.
However, Ducati now believes they have sufficient horsepower to make 'big bang' a better choice for 2010 - and Stoner revealed the only difficulties so far are associated with too much traction.
“We've found nothing but positives with the new engine,” said Stoner. “The engine is very smooth, very easy to ride and is giving me a lot of confidence. We expected top speeds to be lower [with the 'big bang'] but in fact they are faster than they were last year in the race. We're very happy.
“With this engine we've been able to halve the amount of [electronic] anti-spin. We've taken most of it off,” he revealed.
“Instead of the bike always wanting to buck and weave, with this engine, because it's got that much more torque, it's trying to drive the bike out [understeer] instead. So we're having to change the set-up completely to get the bike to turn better on the exits.
“It's something we never really had a problem with on the old bike, because it spun so much we always got good turn on the exits. Now we're working on the chassis to try and keep the [new] grip while still getting the bike to turn.
“My arms are actually having trouble hanging on because it's getting so much more traction.”
Stoner, a 20-time MotoGP race winner, already believes the GP10 will be a more all-round package than the previous 800cc Desmosedicis - and would be happy to race it tomorrow.
“In general I think it's going to be a better package for a whole championship, rather than one or two tracks, which is sort of what we've had in the past,” he said. “We have a much better all-round feeling with the bike and I'm looking forward to getting to other tracks and seeing how it goes.
“I think we may have been able to go faster here with the old bike, because we're still understanding this new bike. But we're not too far off, not injured and looking forward to the new season.
“The more you test the more problems you create. So to be honest we could go into the new season like we are now and be happy that we have a good set-up. We weren't fastest but we weren't too far away,” he declared.
Team-mate Nicky Hayden was the next fastest Ducati rider at the test, in eighth.