Fork or No Fork

Henny Ray Abrams | August 26, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, AUG 26 – Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner doesn’t have a wealth of data from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Australian missed last year’s Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix with the mysterious ailment that was belatedly diagnosed as lactose intolerance. And in 2008 Hurricane Ike brought the race to a premature close; Stoner finished a distant fourth in the driving rain and howling winds after qualifying a shadow second to Valentino Rossi.Stoner and the rest of the MotoGP field arrived in Indianapolis following a rain-shortened test held the day after the Czech Grand Prix at Brno. A new set of Ohlins front forks were the key component and Stoner may use them again this weekend. But because the team only has two sets of the new forks, only one rider can do a reliable back-to-back test, and it will likely fall to Stoner, since Hayden didn’t perceive much of an advantage.”We’ve found some new things in Brno that we’ll try here; whether they will work or not we’re not sure,” he said. “We used a new model of forks that Ohlins brought to us in Brno that a lot of teams were testing. We found a similar feeling to what we had at the start of the season. I’m not sure if they will work or not. We’ll have to run them in practice and see if we can get an understanding of them. If we use these forks then they might give us a small advantage, but only really in feeling and not for anything else. It might be easier on a bumpier circuit like this but we haven’t got anything new for this race. We have to hope we can get a good setting and be competitive again, because I’ve not been able to run at the front.”As for whether Stoner will use the 2011 fork at the Brickyard and beyond, Stoner said his team was told, “It wasn’t like ‘Okay, you can have this for the rest of the season,’ because in theory it is for next year. Most teams will leave this, because they can’t get two sets for every bike. We’ll try and have a back to back comparison and if we can get this fork working quite well then it is okay just to have one fork. It is quite a big difference in feeling and maybe the way we set up. It can be a problem having two different sets of forks, but we’re just looking for some time. We’ve got a good race set-up, but we can’t do anything better than what we’ve got. We need to look for something new and get more speed and we’re willing to take risks.”Teammate Nicky Hayden said he wouldn’t use the new forks in Friday practice. With only one set, he may cede them to Stoner and concentrate on his normal setup.”I tried, really only changed one or two things on them and we’ve talked this week and it seemed after they got back and checked the data more, maybe we started off with the wrong setting on some of the static compression or whatever was maybe not the ideal place to start,” he said. “So, you know, not confuse things tomorrow but maybe try them again here, Misano or something. We brought them and we’ve still got them around. So something we might look at, but not tomorrow.”

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.