The second and final test at Sepang is over, and if you needed to get a feel for the mood among the teams, all you need to do is read the press releases. The tone of the Repsol Honda press release is positively jubilant, and with good reason. As predicted - even by members of remote tribes in the depths of the Amazon forest who have never even heard of MotoGP - Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa smashed the 2'00 barrier for the first time on two wheels. Even more impressive was when: Stoner on just his second flying lap, Pedrosa managing it on the third. Both men followed up with an impressive race simulation, with a handful of 2'00s and a truckload of 2'01s, fast enough to have blitzed last year's race by a giant margin. The Hondas, as you have now heard ad nauseam, are fast.
Compare and contrast with Ducati. When the title of the press release is merely "Last Day Of Testing For Ducati Marlboro In Malaysia," then you know they're in trouble. Fastest of the Ducatis was once again Hector Barbera, the Mapfre Aspar rider ending the day in 10th, nearly 1.7 seconds off the time of Casey Stoner. Valentino Rossi, returning to testing after missing yesterday due to a fever, could manage just the 11th fastest time, 1.8 seconds behind Stoner, and with an identical time to his teammate Nicky Hayden.