Much has been said and written about the famous reuniting of the Italian iconic motorcycle maker Ducati and Casey Stoner, one of the greatest racer's MotoGP has ever seen. Albeit, this time around, Casey Stoner has been given the responsibility of being the Test Rider for Ducati Corse and help in developing the still very new GP16 MotoGP project. Alongwith doing the test rider duties, Casey will also be the brand ambassador for Ducati. On Saturday, 30th January, 2016 , just two days before the official tests begins for 2016, Casey Stoner got a chance to get acquainted with the GP15 in a private test held by Ducati at Sepang.
After starting slowly, the Australian racing legend picked up speed in the later part of the day, as he did a number of short runs to understand the Desmosedici GP15 and to find his rhythm with a GP bike, something he has not ridden for more than a year now, while his last race being at Suzuka 8 Hours where he crashed while leading the race due to a throttle cable malfunction that saw him break his scapula and tibia after he was thrown from the bike in the process.
Adding to it, Casey was riding a Ducati for the first time after 2010 and then there was a fact that the GP15 was vastly different than the GP10 he last rode. Another big change that is coming this year is the change in spec tyres from Bridgestone to Michelin, that Casey Stoner rode way back in 2006.
However, even after all these changes, it was evident that Casey was very happy with the way his first day being back at Ducati went. After the day Stoner has said, 'I haven’t ridden one of these bikes in over a year. Moreover, Haven't ridden Michelins either. The bike is new, and so is everything. Thus, I am really surprised by the end of the day how we got on with it.” Stoner also praised the huge power the Ducati makes and he was equally thrilled about the way this power was delivered to by the gP15. He said, "The bike has grunt everywhere". Stoner was also pretty happy about the way the GP15 showcased its aerodynamics package as well as the stability of the bike under braking. And, all of the bike was so good that he was surprised at just how comfortable he had felt on the bike.
When asked about the spec software that gets implemented this year, Stoner said he was impressed at just how good the spec-software already was. The electronics felt as good as they were just a couple of years ago, rather than the eight or nine which Valentino Rossi had said. However, Stoner felt that it would have been better if they would have gone back to the electronics of 2006, the times where the software had a very limited influence.
Though no official times were disclosed, but it was said that Casey had lapped in the region of 2'02.1 which is entirely respectable number for Stoner due to fact that he returned after such long time and on a bike that is completely new to him. On day first Casey has ridden on used tyres, already worked upon the other test rider Michele Pirro for Ducati. As is the ritual now, his relatively quick times on the day one itself, it was obvious that he would be asked about his plans of returning to MotoGP racing, and as is the ritual he denied it all again by saying, " I’m not here to kick start my career. I have joined Ducati back to do everything I can to help Ducati achieve the results I believe they can. However, a wild card race would provide an ideal test environment, he said, but he had no intention of doing one at the moment.
As per the original schedule, Stoner was supposed to continue his testing on Sunday however, a last-minute change of plan after a debrief with Ducati engineers saw him sit out of the second day of the private test. The good thing is, now, Stoner will take part in the official IRTA test at Sepang, due to run from 1st to 3rd February. Ducati decided they had other things that needed testing on Sunday and Monday, and that was best left to Michele Pirro.
By the time you read this, the official testing at Sepang would already be underway and we will be updating the timings shortly for the day. Till thenyou can watch below the media debrief of Stoner's first day at Ducati shared by our friends at GPOne!