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Just In Case You Wondered Whether Casey Still Has It … Faster Than All Other Ducatis and Faster Than Dani Pedrosa at Sepang

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Normal human beings are not supposed to be able to do such things, but apparently Casey Stoner is not a normal human being. Without riding a MotoGP bike in a year (that was a Honda), and his last experience being a horrible crash of a Honda superbike at Suzuka six months ago, Casey Stoner climbed aboard a Ducati he had never seen before, with tires and electronics he had never experienced before, this week at Sepang and went fast. Very fast.

Maybe the fact that Jorge Lorenzo blew everyone away (see the results below) is the biggest story, but Stoner’s performance is at least close. Riding two of the three days at the Sepang test, with all riders forced onto the harder compound tire after a terrifying high speed crash by Loris Baz (his soft compound rear exploded on the front straight), Stoner was consistently the quickest Ducati. He finished the test with the fifth quickest time claiming he wasn’t really trying for a really quick lap (he was there to test several chassis set-ups, rather than trying to find the single quickest set-up). You could almost hear a collective “ouch” from the other Ducati pilots, particularly factory riders Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone.

The other story is that the factory Yamahas seemed to have a huge leg-up on the factory Hondas, at least at this point. Several tests remain before the opening round, however, so Honda has time to sort things out.

Lorenzo, however, looked like he was in his own league the last two days. We told you the new tires and electronics might favor the smoothest rider (that being Jorge), and so far that appears to be correct.

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Sepang Test Day 3 – Top 10 Riders

Position Rider Manufacturer Time
1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m 59.580s
2 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 2m 0.556s
3 Marc Marquez Honda 2m 0.883s
4 Cal Crutchlow Honda 2m 0.992s
5 Casey Stoner Ducati 2m 1.070s
6 Dani Pedrosa Honda 2m 1.161s
7 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 2m 1.217s
8 Andrea Iannone Ducati 2m 1.223s
9 Scott Redding Ducati 2m 1.229s
10 Maverick Viñales Suzuki 2m 1.244s

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41 Comments

  1. Jeremy in TX says:

    Just read that Stoner has the green light from Ducati. They said “if he wants”, he can race.

    • mickey says:

      Each factory can only have 2 factory riders so he would have to run as a sattelite rider wouldn’t he? Can sattelite riders ride full factory bikes?

      • Dave says:

        Are any of the Ducati’s full-factory bikes under the new rules? They were open class bikes last year.

      • Krisd says:

        It would only be if one rider was injured- in 2016 at least. Depending how or if he does in 2016 maybe he’ll come back full time for 2017?

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        I don’t know exactly what it means as the article didn’t really elaborate any more than that. I don’t know if there is something tucked into the rules concerning Ducati’s hybrid factory status or if the Andreas really need to up there game out of the gate. Here’s the meat of it if you hadn’t read already:

        While Stoner has indicated he has “no intention” of making a wild-card outing this season, Dall’Igna admits that it would be hard to turn him down if he were to change his mind.

        “We haven’t hired him for that purpose [racing], but if Stoner says he wants to race, you can’t tell him no,” said Dall’Igna.

        “Our goal is to win the championship and we can’t be afraid of someone coming and demonstrating that he’s better than us.

        “When we told [race riders Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone] that we had reached an agreement with him, both of them agreed.”

        It is possible that the chronology and context of those statements were dinked with for the purpose of making a headline, but it sounds like Ducati opened the door to negotiations should Stoner want in.

        • mickey says:

          Wonder if one of the Andreas are willing to be sick or slightly injured before the Italian GP or Phillip Island allowing Stoner to fill in?

  2. Gary says:

    If he doesn’t race it doesn’t matter how fast he is. Here’s hoping he races.

  3. Vrooom says:

    Nice to see Suzuki in the top 10. Where is Dovi? Can’t believe every other Ducati rider beat him, perhaps an exaggeration, but Redding and Petrucci did, I expected Iannone to beat him. Stoner’s a god. If he was racing, he’d immediately be in the mix. Nice to see Marquez way back in 3rd, or perhaps he was practicing harassing Rossi?

  4. viktor92 says:

    Stoner reminds me Mike Hailwood, no matter what bike he rides, the setup, or the problems other pilots have with the same hardware, he always goes fast.
    How I wish he becomes again a Ducati factory pilot…

  5. Ricardo says:

    Amazing!! he can ride just about anything.

  6. Paul says:

    so what does a team do then when the test rider is faster than the race pilots?

  7. Provologna says:

    Casey Stoner is one hella’ motorcycle gunslinger right there.

  8. Brian says:

    Here’s what David Emmett from MotoMatters has to say on Casey: “A commonly shared theory around the MotoGP paddock is that Ducati will be going after a top line rider, preferably one of the four aliens (though the chances of Valentino Rossi returning to Ducati are very slim indeed). To convince a potential champion to come to Ducati, they have to prove that their bike is capable of being competitive at the front. Having Stoner run at the front on his return to MotoGP, after a year off a MotoGP bike, and eight months off a motorcycle, is proof enough that there is not much wrong with the Ducati.”

  9. Andrus Chesley says:

    I seem to remember years back, when Nicky and Stoner were riding together, Nicky saying that Stoner had one of the smoothest throttle hands in the field. LOL! I’ll never forget Troy’s wild card ride.

  10. Daytona James says:

    Ok Casey… (best Italian accent) all we want you to do is race and win. Beat everyone, we’ll look after all your interviews, you can jump off the bike and go home if you like. We’ll arrange Dovi and Iannone’s first born for you if you want… and a lifetime supply of the best shrimp you’ve ever ‘barbied’. Just please race our bike this year.

  11. WJF says:

    So the Ducati dilemma, what to do what to do….

  12. RRocket says:

    Just to be fair…Petrucci still has the fastest Ducati time of the test. 1 second quicker than Stoner. And of the 8 Ducatis at the test, Stoner was only ultimately quicker than 3 of them. And Stoner was on the GP16 bike, whereas at least one of the slower riders was on the GP15 machine.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Stoner has the fastest time on the hard rear tire … both days. That was the point of the reference to the Baz crash on day 2. From the afternoon of day 2 forward, Stoner was always quickest of the Ducatis. I don’t believe he ever used the soft rear before it was banned. Hell of a lap by Petrucci, however, and he was fast on the hard tire, too.

      • Fivespeed302 says:

        I can’t remember which race it was last year but when he kicked ass in the rain, he gained a new fan.

    • Brinskee says:

      I respectfully want to point out that you’re wrong about the bike Stoner was on – he was on the GP 15, which makes his accomplishments even more amazing. From Crash.net:

      5. ˅ Casey Stoner AUS Ducati Test Rider (Desmosedici GP15) 2m 1.070s +1.490s [30/30]

  13. Curly says:

    I watched and listened to the daily MotoGP 8 hour broadcast replays and it was enjoyable. Not just to see the bikes on the track and Casey back in the saddle but also for the interviews and commentary. They had a couple of interviews with Vincente Villa of Magneti Marelli who provides the software for all the bikes. Those interviews alone were worth the 99 Euro yearly subscription. The electronic controls on the bikes now are much more in depth than I imagined. Yamaha seems to have a jump on the field and I wonder if it’s because they used Magneti Marelli developed software in previous years. At any rate it looks like Jorge is set for a fast start to the season. The others will have to do some hard riding to catch him.

    • drc says:

      The MotoGP broadcasts, replays and interviews are great but three times last year the site went down DURING the race. Their customer service provided no customer service and basically told me too bad. I am moving on to other avenues to watch the races. I was a long time subscription holder. Not any longer. If they are not interested in customer service, then I am not interested in giving them my money.

  14. Neil says:

    Cal Crutchlow said the Yamaha is the easiest bike to ride. He said it has a very good base setup and does everything well right out of the box. The other bikes require much more attention setting up, being stronger in one or another area and weaker in an area. The Yamaha will corner fast. My 07 Ninja 250 would slide both tires in a 90 corner when I drifted out onto the paint and it never got nervous, it just kept on trucking. I could hammer the brakes, let off and gas it into the corner and it didn’t protest at all. So Lorenzo has a nice bike from the get go. The fact that Stoner is so fast is telling. Many have said he is the most gifted rider in the world.

  15. Jeremy in TX says:

    Dang, Jorge. You are just crushing the field. Man, I hope to see Stoner in a few of the races. Dovi and Iannone probably don’t.

    • Brinskee says:

      Interesting to see how it turns out. How embarrassing for Ducati’s two factory stars if they were beaten by Stoner, especially if he were to wildcard on a 2015 machine? On the flip side, imagine if Stoner could pick up the first win for Ducati since, what was it, 2010? That’s probably an irresistible proposition for the Italian outfit.

      • Dave says:

        If Stoner was on the GP15, that doesn’t jive with the job he was supposed to be there to do (test chassis/component configurations for 2016l. If he was on the GP15 then it’s less of a surprise that he was fast. That chassis is developed, the GP16 isn’t.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “If he was on the GP15 then it’s less of a surprise that he was fast. That chassis is developed, the GP16 isn’t.”

          precisely. last I read both Andreas were on 2016’s which have Lord knows what changes…? Devil is the details. while that’s certainly good, there’s actually more to the story.

      • peter h says:

        I hope not. If Ducati wins they’ll tack on an extra grand on their “heritage” tax. A little pricey as it is.

  16. Tommy D says:

    I find it odd that they are using Stoner to test chassis setup. Didn’t he already prove that no one can the bike he won a championship on.

    • One of several odd things about the new Stoner/Ducati relationship.

    • Motonut_1 says:

      Apparently, Australians can ride Ducatiis better than others. If I’m remembering my history correctly, Troy Bayliss crushed the MotoGP field in a one-off retirement reward ride

    • NAJ says:

      This is actually an excellent point. Using someone like Stoner for a development rider makes very little sense if the input he provides results in a bike that is utterly useless to the rest of the Ducati pilots. They’d essentially be throwing money at him to build a bike for himself, only to have the pairing of man and machine never turn a lap in anger.

      • Dave says:

        The conditions he produced wins on with the Ducati were very different than those the team floundered under in more recent years. He won a title on the Ducati and switched to Honda and did it again. He continued to do good testing work for Honda after retirement (and that bike has been on or near the top through it all). His credentials as a setup developer must be solid.