PRESEASON TESTING STARTS AT SEPANG FOR THE DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM Sunny and dry weather conditions, marked only by the typically torrid Malaysian temperatures (with the track reaching 56C), allowed the Ducati Marlboro team to get their preseason...
PRESEASON TESTING STARTS AT SEPANG FOR THE DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM
Sunny and dry weather conditions, marked only by the typically torrid Malaysian temperatures (with the track reaching 56C), allowed the Ducati Marlboro team to get their preseason testing programme underway at Sepang. After experiencing some electrical problems in the morning the team were able to make the most of the conditions to resolve them in the afternoon and both Casey Stoner and Marco Melandri could work on various aspects of the set-up of their GP8, mainly in the cycle part. The pair were also able to try some new tyres from Bridgestone and will continue to do so over the next two days. For Stoner the first day was also a chance to check his physical condition after damaging his shoulder in the team's last session at Jerez. Even though he's still not at 100%, the Australian was not unduly troubled by the injury.
Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro Team), best lap: 2'02'457 (36 laps)
"I'm really happy because in the past, for a variety of reasons, testing hasn't gone well at this circuit for me but today was quite a bit better. The shoulder isn't hurting so that's a bonus; it's just a little weak but that's not too much of a problem other than in the changes of direction, where we can't go as fast as we'd like. It's been quite hard to get my confidence back because after almost two months without riding and my two crashes in the last test at Jerez it feels a little bit like learning to ride again. We lost a bit of time this morning but that kind of thing can happen with a new bike. I've got total confidence in Ducati and the bike was actually running really well in the afternoon - we just have to be a little patient. The GP8 has improved in terms of power delivery, which was one of our weak points, and even though I'm not yet riding as I'd like I think we're on the right lines. Towards the end of the session I tried the new Bridgestones and there were some encouraging things. We'll keep working on the new tyres tomorrow and hopefully the weather can be on our side like it was today."
Marco Melandri (Ducati Marlboro Team), best time: 2'04.414 (52 laps)
"The power delivery is better compared to the last test and even though that is something that isn't crucial at this circuit, I think it will be when we go somewhere like Jerez. I still don't feel completely comfortable with the bike as far as the cycle part is concerned. The Ducati has a very unique character - it reacts differently to set-up changes compared to the bike I was used to and along with my engineer we're just trying to understand the problems I'm having at the moment. Losing time this morning when we had to programme the new engine configuration meant that I couldn't get as many laps in as I'd wanted to but these things happen at the beginning. I want to say a big 'thank you' to Ducati Corse for changing the ergonomics of the bike as I requested after Jerez. Now the seat position is good for me and we can concentrate on working on the setting."