Having crashed out of the lead of Sunday's Czech Republic Grand Prix, handing Valentino Rossi the race victory and a 50 point title lead, Casey Stoner began rebuilding his confidence in the best way possible back at Brno on Monday - by smashing the lap record during the first day of testing.

Riding alongside almost a full line-up of MotoGP riders, plus three additional test riders, Stoner completed 55 laps on race tyres, carrying out a variety of set-up and tyre tests and maintaining a consistently quick pace - well inside the circuit record he set in Sunday's race.

The Ducati Marlboro rider's best lap was a scorching 1min 56.261secs, which put the reigning world champion 1.071secs clear of nearest rival Rossi and almost one second under the new official lap record he had set prior to his seventh lap accident in Sunday's race.

"It has been a really positive day," stated Stoner. "We didn't have too much to test - a couple of new tyres and that's about it - but we managed to find a new setting to improve on what was already a very good situation. I managed to drop my lap times by almost a second on yesterday and that's really positive.

"Unfortunately my physical condition on Friday and the rain on Saturday meant that we didn't head into the race in the best possible shape. In any case I'm happy because the things we've improved today will be useful for the upcoming races. Hopefully the weather's good to us again tomorrow so we can finish the job off with Bridgestone," he added.

Rossi and Kawasaki's John Hopkins (18th fastest) were the only riders not to lap quicker than they had in Sunday's race, while another Ducati rider on top form was Alice's Toni Elias.

The Spaniard proved that his second position in Sunday's race was no fluke by lapping just 0.125secs behind Rossi and joined Stoner in dropping his best race lap by almost one second.

Shinya Nakano matched his race finish of fourth on his factory RC212V, the San Carlo Honda Gresini rider finding half a second from his best race lap with further track time on the official machine, while Chris Vermeulen was an impressive fifth on an early version of Suzuki's 2009 GSV-R.

After its Czech GP nightmare, Michelin brought revised front tyres to Monday's test. Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa said they made little difference, quit testing after just eleven laps, cancelled a planned appearance on the pneumatic RCV and will not return tomorrow.

However, Tech 3's Colin Edwards set the sixth fastest lap time, a big improvement on the 16th fastest lap in the race... but all was not as it seems: "Colin Edwards has got a good lap time, but only for three laps" - revealed fellow Michelin rider Andrea Dovizioso.

The only other Michelin rider inside the Monday top ten was Rossi's Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, the race winning rookie setting the ninth fastest lap time, 1.7secs behind Stoner but one second under his best in the race, which he finished in tenth position.

"Today we concentrated on front tyres with Michelin, who provided us with some different compounds and rubber to try," confirmed Lorenzo's team manager Daniele Romagnoli. "We found some improvement with regards to the wear of the tyre, which was one of the biggest problems during the weekend, but there is still a lot of work to do. Tomorrow we will shift focus to the rear tyre and we hope we can make the most of the day so that we can go to Misano in better shape and with more confidence."

Between the two leading Michelin riders were Gresini's Alex de Angelis and Alice's Sylvain Guintoli, with Loris Capirossi - third in the race - rounding out the top ten on the second Rizla Suzuki.

Niccolo Canepa was the top test rider, claiming eleventh position on his Desmosedici, one place in front of Ducati's factory race rider Marco Melandri.

"Today we worked mainly on trying to understand why I struggled so much at the start of the race yesterday," said Marco. "My pace hasn't been particularly fast but I'm happy that it was consistent on both new and used tyres. We've taken a step forward and we'll work hard tomorrow to take another one. We'll probably modify the weight distribution a little to improve the overall feeling. We're working well and I can say that today has been a good day of tests."

Completing the field was HRC test rider Tady Okada, drafted in to replace the injured Nicky Hayden at Repsol Honda. The former 500cc race winner, who gave the pneumatic-valve engine its race debut at Mugello, clocked 67 laps on what he described as a much improved machine.

A second and final day of testing is available on Tuesday.


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