Along with expressing pleasant surprise at his own speed, Andrea Dovizioso was happy to heap praise on Ducati test rider Casey Stoner, after the Australian headed the Italian at the top of the time sheets at Sepang.

Dovizioso placed second at the close of the season's first test outing, and stated he was impressed, but not surprised, by Stoner's thrilling turn of pace on Monday.

Furthermore, the Australian had completed important comparisons between the machine he tested at Valencia and the new bike, which Dovizioso - second quickest on Monday, 0.117s off Stoner's best - found encouraging.

"It's not the first year [that he's done this], and I know very well what he's like, everybody knows very well his speed. Especially his speed without riding!

"He's special about that, but it's just positive for us, because today the test he did is important for us, because he did some comparison. But it's just more feedback from another fast rider. That is important for me.

"For sure, he made the lap time with the softer tyre, not like our tyre, but the speed he has is amazing. But I can speak about that only in a positive way.

"But also last year, I don't remember which position we went home, 14th or so, I wasn't fast, it was at the beginning of the bike and he was a little bit faster. But I know him very well, it's not a problem, he's in our team."

On whether he was pleased that Stoner was no longer a full-time competitor, he added, "I think everybody's happy about that! I don't think Casey trained to race, so I don't know if he could make a good race from the beginning to the end, but in terms of speed, he's something unusual."

While Stoner grabbed the headlines, Dovizioso completed an impressive day's work as he finished the fastest of MotoGP's full-time contingent.

The Italian spent the majority of the day adapting the settings on the early incarnation of the '17 machine, which he sampled in Valencia and which now lacks the winglets that gave Ducatis such an advantage on the exit of slow corners in the season past. Work on the full '17 machine will start on Tuesday.

"[It was a] Really nice way to start 2017," he continued. "I didn't expect to have this speed, also because I didn't really try to do a good lap time. It was the end of the day, and I just changed a tyre and that tyre was better than the first one, so I was able to make a really good lap time.

"Today we worked just on the set up, to adapt the bike without the winglets. It was the first thing to do, and we have to change the bike quite a lot, because the effect of the winglets is quite big. But it is more positive than I expected. I expected to have more negative points, but it's not like this.

"Especially in this track, this track is very fast, wide, hot, so you are able to use more power, so it's easier to manage the situation. But unfortunately we didn't work like the schedule we had, because we just did an out and in with the new bike, and we didn't try.

"We have to do that and we have to try something with the chassis, so we have a lot of things to do. I hope we have good conditions tomorrow and the day after tomorrow because we need that time."

Dovizioso was some way ahead of new team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who was stranded back in 17th place, 1.5 seconds off the Italian's time.


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