It looked like it was set to be another difficult night in the desert after a blustery day in Doha but last night’s fortunes were reversed as the strong winds dropped at the Losail circuit just as the riders went to work on the second day of a three-day test in the capital of Qatar.
It was a welcome turn of fate for the MotoGP riders and in particular the Ducati Marlboro Team, who had work to do not only on the new swingarm and electronics for the Desmosedici GP9 but also on checking the physical condition of former World Champion Casey Stoner, who is recovering from a wrist operation.
Stoner set the fastest lap of the day and was satisfied not only with his pace but also with his recovery. The Australian only tried the new swingarm at the very end of the session and will wait until tomorrow before making a full evaluation. Hayden, who had to start virtually from scratch with set-up after a rain-hit first day, took a step forward in comparison to Malaysia but admits there is still work to be done.
Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro Team), fastest time: 1′57.139 (on lap 23)
“We have worked well and we’ve made progress with the set-up of the GP9 so it has been a positive day despite the difficult track conditions. Pretty much the same goes for the wrist – it’s obviously still not 100% yet but it is better than Malaysia and better than I was expecting for this test, so it’s looking hopeful from that point of view too. In general I am satisfied.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team), fastest time: 1′58.577 (on lap 52)
“The way the day started out I didn’t even expect to be riding tonight. The wind was so strong but luckily it turned and we were able to start working seriously on the set-up, adapting the bike to this circuit because the conditions were so strange yesterday that we didn’t gather any useful data. Things are going better than Malaysia, my feeling is improved but there is obviously still a lot of work to do.”