Casey Stoner eager to test 2009 Ducati

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Former world champion Casey Stoner says he can’t wait to begin serious testing on Ducati’s 2009 MotoGP contender in Valencia next week.

The Aussie will make his second appearance on the GP9 on Monday and Tuesday having postponed surgery on his damaged left wrist to participate in the two-day test session.

Stoner made an impressive debut on the GP9, which features a radical new carbon fibre chassis, at the Catalunya circuit back in early June.

The 23-year-old, who has won five times in 2008, said: “”When I first rode those laps, all I wanted to do was ride that bike for the rest of the season. That’s always a very good sign that we were happy with it from the off.

“I had a great feeling with it on lap two and I was quicker than I had been all weekend. I think we can only step forward. Once we started to change things a little bit we can make it better and I’m really looking forward to getting on the bike and getting it ready. Hopefully all of us can run at the front on this bike.”

Stoner denied the bike he will ride next week will be significantly different to the version he rode earlier in the campaign, with the bike only undergoing minor tweaks.

He added: “We’ve made a few changes but the engine wasn’t configured correctly at Barcelona. It didn’t have the power that it has now and it had a lot of weak points there. We only had half a day on the bike, so I think it’s necessary to get more of an understanding.

“We got a direction and that’s all we needed to know at the Barcelona test. Now we’ll start to do testing. It seems to perform on the track how I want it to. Everything I’ve relayed to Filippo Preziosi and the team about what I want the bike to do, it seems to be doing a lot more in that direction and to try it on a different track will be very important. We know it performed in Barcelona, and it will be great if it works here too.”

New team-mate Nicky Hayden, who will make his debut for Ducati at the test, is also likely to start immediately on the GP9.

Hayden has one of the bikes available, as well as a GP8 machine if he wishes to ride it.

But Hayden said: “I’ll probably go straight out on the GP9.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt