Stoner Out of Sepang Test

Henny Ray Abrams | January 30, 2012

Photography By: Courtesy of Honda Pro Images

SEPANG, MALAYSIA, JAN 31 – Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner had an early day after injuring his back while stretching prior to the first of three days of MotoGP testing in Sepang, Malaysia.

The 2011 MotoGP World Champion was preparing to ride the Repsol Honda RC213V with the number ‘1′ plate when he re-aggravated an old racing injury. Stoner was warming up in his rider’s room in the Repsol Honda garage when his back suddenly sezied up.

Stoner received physiotherapy and did manage to put in four laps, but was never up to speed. He retired early in the day for more physiotherapy before returning to the hotel. He fully expects to ride the final two days of the test.

At the time of his withdrawal, Stoner was 14th fastest, well behind the class-leading Yamahas.

With three hours remaining in the testing day, Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo was fastest (2:02.406) ahead of teammate Ben Spies (2:02.465). Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was third (2:02.535), with Ducati Marlboro’s Valentino Rossi an encouraging fourth (2:02.284) on the latest iteration of the GP12.

Further down the order in eighth was Rossi’s teammate, Nicky Hayden, at 2:04.204, while the final American, Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards, had completed only six laps with a best of 2:10.501. Hayden was sore as he continues to recover from a broken shoulder blade suffered in a training accident between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

The track was open at 10:00 a.m., but overnight and morning thundershowers kept most riders in their garages for some time. Eventually the 92 degree heat, with 70% humidity, dried the track, though it was still green and a little dirty, riders reported.

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.