Casey Stoner impressed with new Ducati

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Former world champion Casey Stoner said he was delighted with the performance of Ducati’s new GP9 after he dominated the opening day of 2009 testing in Valencia.

The Aussie topped the timesheets with a best lap of 1.32.464 to edge out Dani Pedrosa by 0.208s.

Stoner, who Sunday’s Valencia GP for his sixth victory in 2008, was making his second appearance on the GP9 having completed an initial shakedown back in early June in Catalunya.

The 23-year-old said: “The feelings from this first day of testing in Valencia with the GP9 have been definitely good. We tried many things, some worked well, others less so, but this is normal because the bike is quite different in its characteristics and in its reactions compared to the GP8. We still have other things to try but the feeling is already excellent and in fact we were able to lap consistently quickly.

"I am very happy with the behaviour of the engine that seems to me to be more progressive and predictable. The bike is more stable in braking which is really saying something because the GP8 was already very efficient from this point of view. We have to work more on the rear set-up but the potential is good, it is just a question of finding the right set-up.

"Also as far as the tyres are concerned I am satisfied, above all the specification that we used this morning, with which we were able to maintain an excellent rhythm for thirty laps.”

Stoner also said that he was pleased to see new team-mate Nicky Hayden make a positive start to his Ducati career, with the American 1.496s off his fast pace on his GP9 debut.

Stoner added: “I think that Nicky is content with his first day at Ducati, he continued to improve during the day and I am sure that with a few more days with the bike he will find himself in good shape."

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt