STONER HOT IN COOL JAPAN AS HAYDEN RECOVERS FORM AND FITNESS The MotoGP World Championship has arrived in Japan much earlier than usual, with the Motegi circuit hosting the second round of the season as opposed to one of the decisive later...
STONER HOT IN COOL JAPAN AS HAYDEN RECOVERS FORM AND FITNESS
The MotoGP World Championship has arrived in Japan much earlier than usual, with the Motegi circuit hosting the second round of the season as opposed to one of the decisive later races, and the springtime temperatures provided the teams and riders with a fresh challenge -- figuratively and literally speaking -- out on the track, and with 45 minutes available in today's first free practice session, Ducati Marlboro pair Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden had to work quickly on the set-up of their Desmosedici machines.
Stoner was fast from the moment the red lights turned to green and after just a handful of laps he was already top of the time sheets with a good advantage over the rest of the field. However, the gap steadily reduced over the course of the session and the Australian was dislodged in the final moments by Valentino Rossi. Hayden, who headed into the action with the stitches he had inserted into his chest, shrugged off the discomfort to turn in a productive afternoon's work, building on the progress made with his own GP9 set-up during the race in Doha.
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 2nd (1'48.601)
"We're not too far from setting some very decent lap times and considering how cold it was this afternoon I think everything has gone as well as we could have expected. It looks as though the weather forecast is not good for tomorrow so this session might not turn out to be so important in terms of qualifying, but then if it's dry again on Sunday it could turn out to be crucial. In general the bike feels quite good - we need to try and find a bit more grip on the rear and we have a few ideas that we think could work -- but now it's just a case of seeing what the heavens throw at us tomorrow and dealing with that as best we can."
NICKY HAYDEN -- (Ducati Marlboro Team) 13th (1'50.393)
"The track was quite slippery when we first went out and the air felt so cold, with the humidity, it felt like it could rain any second. We certainly had to be careful getting some heat into the left side of the rear and into the front. We tried a few things out with the set-up -- I ran both bikes and worked in the direction we'd found in Qatar, where the balance of the bike had felt much better in the later laps, with less fuel on board. Obviously the lap time isn't great but we improved with every run and pretty much every lap, we got a good number laps in just in case it does rain tomorrow and we worked out a basic direction we need to take for the race, so I'm satisfied. "
Circuit Record: Casey Stoner (Ducati - 2008), 1'55.153, 168.193 Km/h
Best Pole: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha - 2008), 1'53.927, 170.003 Km/h