Its official and confirmed by Ducati, the two-time world champion is back on the track as a test rider.
Just the past weekend Stoner made an appearance at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia for a private testing session with Ducati. While riding the Ducati Desmosecidi GP bike, Stoner managed to complete 54 laps with the fastest lap time of 2m02.1s. This was his first time on a Ducati since the 2010 MotoGP championship at Valencia.
For comparison, Ducati’s racer Andrea Dovizioso’s best time on the Sepang Circuit was 2m00.770s, a time he logged on a practice run for the Malaysian Grand Prix last year. A 1.4 second difference that could be attributed to variables like track conditions, the weather, the type of tyres used (Dovizioso’s time was made on a set of Bridgestones and Stoner on 2016 Michelins), or maybe he’s just not perfectly comfortable on MotoGP bike yet.
Stoner even admitted as much in an interview with VisorDown; “I need some time to get back to speed and get the feeling back, because I haven’t ridden a MotoGP bike for one year and any bike at all for six months.”
Well, he’ll have plenty of time to get comfortable with the Ducati Desmosecidi because his second test day was on Wednesday.