Stoner’s Speed Secrets

Cycle News Staff | September 18, 2010

Thirteen races into the season and Casey Stoner may have a motorcycle he can do some damage with.The Ducati Marlboro rider, and teammate Nicky Hayden, have both struggled with front end feel all year. Both have crashed on the front end, both have played with different forks, nothing really worked. Until today.The team made a radical change to the set-up, as they’ve done for the past several races, but this time it worked. Stoner was on the pole for the first time since the season-opener in Qatar and riding at a pace that made everyone believe he was suddenly in the mix for the top spot on the podium.”We’re still using last year’s front forks to get a better feeling with them,” he said after taking the pole at the MotorLand Aragon. “The reason we’re changing the set-up this week is because the last couple of races I’ve been looking at my riding position and the fact that I can’t put as much weight over the front of the bike anymore without so much movement in my wrist since the operation. We’ve basically moved my body position further forward, but without sacrificing rear grip. We’ve moved the steering position and shortened the swingarm to get more grip, but at the same time putting me over the front of the bike more without me having to physically do it. We’ve tried that this weekend and it seems to work so we’ll see how it goes in the race and whether it works at other tracks.”Stoner added that his view of the track hadn’t changed after two days of riding.”This track is quite consistent throughout,” he said. “The grip is not the best in the world, but it is definitely now low. My opinion hasn’t changed. There are two good points on this track. The last corner you have a few different options and coming onto the straight is a lot of fun or going up through that turn. The rest of it is very second gear and very back and forth. There is a lot of braking on the edge of the tire and a lot of concentration needed, so you don’t use too much front brake and go down. The track is definitely not a bad track. I just said it wasn’t my favorite. There are more tracks that are a little more exciting that make your heart race more than this circuit. I’m not saying it is a bad track and I’m not saying I don’t like it, I just said it’s not one of my favorites.”Depending on what happens Sunday afternoon, that may change.