Casey Stoner couldn't have asked for much more from the final day of MotoGP testing at Sepang.
Not only did the new Repsol Honda rider complete a clean sweep of the second, three-day, Malaysian test - he also broke the two-minute barrier, delivered a very impressive race simulation and
made a final decision on which chassis he wants to use this season.
“We knew after yesterday afternoon, with the times we did late in the day, that we could get into the '59s,” said Stoner. “But I also knew that I had to do a long run today and I didn't really want to wait until the end to go for a '59 in case it rained. So I thought 'right, we better do something in the morning'.
“I never feel quite as comfortable in the morning and I didn't want to crash, so I just let the bike run wide a couple of times and we were still able to do those times.
“I think my first lap would have been my fastest, but the second lap ended up being a bit quicker. We were just happy to get under the two-minute barrier. That's what we were going for and with an ideal lap you could go probably low 1'59.”
Stoner set a 1min 59.665sec on his second lap, with team-mate Dani Pedrosa the only other rider to dip into the '59s. Pedrosa was 0.138sec slower.
Stoner then explained why he has chosen to use the stiffer ('standard') 2011 RCV chassis.
“It feels that little bit better, a little more consistent,” said the Australian. “It seems to have a small advantage every time. It surprises us because even in conditions it shouldn't work, it does. We've adapted it to make it similar to the other chassis, so we're more pleased with this one and have decided to go in that direction.
“We won't try the other chassis now. We've decided, 100 percent.
“So when we get to Qatar in a few weeks we'll be able to test different set-ups at the same time and get more track time. Some changes can be quite time consuming, so having the two bikes with identical chassis will be useful.
“The test here has been very productive for us, we did a long run here today - almost race distance - and gathered some key information.”
Stoner ran low 2'1.0sec lap times for most of his race simulation. His quickest lap was a 2'0.887sec. The best race lap in last October's grand prix was a 2'2.117sec.
Behind Stoner and Pedrosa, Marco Simoncelli (Gresini) and Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol) completed the all-RCV top four.
Of the six days of 2011 testing to date, Stoner has been fastest in four of them and Honda in all six.
The third and final pre-season test will be held at Qatar in mid-March.