The second official MotoGP pre-season test of the year got underway at Sepang in Malaysia on Tuesday, when world champion Casey Stoner was last on track but soon on top of the rain-interrupted timesheets.
The Repsol Honda star, the only person to dip under the two-minute mark at the first test earlier this month, took to the track almost one-hour after the 10am start, but was ahead by half-a-second by his fourth lap.
Further improvements kept the Australian on top, with his position effectively confirmed by a rain storm from 2-3pm. Sweltering sunshine later returned, but most riders - Stoner included - elected against running in the wet or using slicks later in the day, when the track was almost fully dry.
Stoner's best lap of 2m 1.761s was set on his eighth of 16 laps, but just over two seconds slower than his best time at the first test.
“The track was at its hottest, 57 degrees, when I set my best lap time,” said Stoner. “So I have no doubt we could have gone 1-1.5sec faster [without the rain]. Everyone would have been closer to the pace at the first test.”
Turning to the technical revisions for his new RC213V, Stoner explained:
“We tried something different with brake discs, to try and stop a little bit of brake fade that we sometimes have when we have a shake on the bike. Where we lose the brakes going into the next corner. That improved a little bit.
“We also tried a couple of settings to compare between the same chassis' that we've now got. We found some small improvements and did some more comparison, then shortly after lunch it started pouring down with rain and that just about ended the day.”
The pressing issue for Stoner and team-mate Dani Pedrosa at the first Sepang test had been a chatter (vibration) problem prompted by the latest specification of Bridgestone tyres.
Stoner stated that he hadn't yet had chance to work through their ideas to improve the situation.
“No [progress] on the chatter unfortunately,” he said. “We've got things to try for that, which we could have tried this afternoon, but we'll now probably try tomorrow.”