News 22 Mar 2016

Day one of Stoner's Qatar MotoGP test washed out

Ducati test rider rules out replacing Pramac Racing's Petrucci.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Australia’s Casey Stoner started his two-day test with Ducati’s factory MotoGP team at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar on Monday, the day following round one of the 2016 season.

The two-time world champion, who has returned to Ducati in a development role for this year, did manage to turn minimal laps on day one, however rain put an early end to proceedings.

Stoner, who retired at the close of the 2012 season, rode the familiar Desmosedici GP15 initially before transferring to the current GP16, however it was soon after that showers began to fall upon the circuit. He will attempt to make further comparisons on Tuesday.

“I don’t have a lot to say,” Stoner said. “We’ve struggled all afternoon and evening with the weather. It starts spitting and raining just enough to upset the test where you can’t really push, can’t really do anything, then you come in and it immediately stops as soon as you come in. Then you head back out and it starts raining again.

“We got basically two or three laps in where there was no rain and they were the only laps we got where it was rain-free. We were able to feel some things and reconfirm them from the Sepang test in the short time we had, not doing the lap times that we want, but just the general feeling of the bike, which I suppose is positive.”

With Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci currently sidelined after suffering further broken bones in his hand during Free Practice last Thursday in Qatar, Stoner said he has no plans to stand-in for the Italian on the satellite squad during Argentina’s second round next weekend.

“There’s no truth in that,” Stoner said of the speculation. “Honestly, my biggest goal at the moment is to try and get some tests out of the way, where we can actually try improve the bike underneath the Ducati riders and hope that we can move them forward to be even more competitive than what we were in race one.

“This is the most important thing, so no, we have no thoughts of wildcards or replacements, anything like this. Just because it’s a similar situation to last year, I’m not approaching it in any way the same.”