Italian Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci topped the timesheets on a dramatic day two of MotoGP testing at Sepang on February 2, as Casey Stoner was out on track with the rest of the grid for the first time since he retired at the end of 2012.
And the Aussie two-time world champion was impressive on the 2015-spec factory Ducati, setting the ninth fastest time, 1.008 seconds behind Petrucci.
Attention turned to Michelin's hard tyre early in the day after Loris Baz suffered a heavy fall on his Avintia Racing Ducati, the Frenchman falling down the main straight at 290km/h. The cause of the crash is still unclear, but Baz reportedly heard a sound come from his bike in the final corner before the fall, the rear of his GP14.2 destroyed.
The session was red-flagged for an hour and, as a safety precaution, the soft tyre was withdrawn for the remainder of the test. Baz was able to return to the track after his fall.
Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) set his best time (2:00.095) early on, while second-placed Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha) 2:00.155) left his unto the death knell. Lorenzo was the fastest on day one.
“I'm happy for this result," said Petrucci. "We were quick and we made the most of the situation considered what has happened with Loris Baz. It's nice to set the fastest lap time although obviously it is not entirely representative. To end up the day in first place, however, gives much satisfaction even to the team who did a brilliant job.
"In the afternoon I could not go fast as hoped and this remains an important goal that we will try to get tomorrow. Improvements? Yes, compared to Monday we have made progress. The confidence with the bike and the tyres is growing and electronics is improving too. But we are still far from the top riders: tomorrow we'll try to get closer.”
Spaniard Hector Barbera (2:00.387) did give Avintia Racing Ducati some joy on day two with the third fastest time, ahead of Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda, 2:00.843), Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda, 2:00.899), Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha, 2:01.021), Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati, 2:01.049) and Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team, 2:01.052).
Rossi achieved his goal of getting within a second of teammate Lorenzo, while Marquez and Dani Pedrosa used the new evolution of the 2016 RC213V engine on day two, concentrating on electronics and chassis setup.
Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Pol Espargaro (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha) all crashed at turn five during the day, while rookie Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 March VDS Honda) — Aussie Jack Miler's teammate — fell at turn 15. Yonny Hernandez (Aspar Ducati) also came a cropper, while his teammate Eugene Laverty, who crashed hard on day one, didn't take to the track but is hopeful of returning on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Stoner declared himself satisfied after another solid day's work.
"Being on track with everybody else, with the good track conditions, gave us better indications of what we are feeling in comparison," said Stoner. "We had a lot of different things to test, but unfortunately after Baz’s crash we had to change tyre compounds and retest everything.
"We went through a lot of the stack we had to do, and got some very positive input from the electronics, the engine braking, the clutch and in every aspect of the bike, together with a few things we can improve, and we gathered a lot of data to move forward from there.”
Stoner will also return for the final day of testing.
For all the Sepang times, click here.