Casey Stoner admitted he was frustrated with the condition of his recovering left wrist in Sepang today, even though he produced a stunning return to action by posting the second best time.
Over three months since he last rode a factory Ducati MotoGP bike, Stoner was just 0.169s adrift of Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi with a best time of 2.02.038. That was 0.4s faster than he managed in last October's Malaysian MotoGP.
But while he went some way to erasing fears that a three-month lay-off to help a bone graft operation on an old left wrist injury heal, the Aussie was still not happy with his physical condition.
“I feel like crap really. I took it steady and slowly got quicker and the wrist is not nearly as good as I expected.
"I thought three months of doing nothing I thought it would be at a reasonable level now. But this morning was really difficult and I really didn't feel comfortable on the bike.
"But it is the strangest feeling because I can't ride how I want to and I feel really slow. Yet I come in feeling pretty down and I'm at the top of the timesheets. So to be doing those times with my problems gives me a lot of confidence.
"But my wrist is still in a lot of pain and I thought it would be the opposite. Even though the lap times were good from the start the wrist was still giving me a lot of problems - it is weak and painful under braking, especially in the first left-hand turn and it’s not easy to change direction.
"I can't do more than four or five laps at a time and there's nothing I can do about that at the moment, other than hope that it improves over time.
"Sepang is a physically demanding circuit and probably not the best place to be riding for the first time after three months out, “said Stoner, who is still suffering severe movement issues with the left wrist.
He was compensating with other parts of his body for the left wrist weakness, which in turn flared up an arm pump problem in his right arm.
Stoner though plans to finish the test to give Ducati precious information on the new carbon fibre chassis GP9. He only completed 34 laps and he said: “ I preferred not to ride too much and tire myself out and hopefully it will already be a bit better tomorrow.
"I didn’t want to ride for long and get tired and weak and make a small mistake. I need to get quality information on the bike and not just doing quantity.”