Stoner Rides the 1000cc Honda

Cycle News Staff | May 17, 2011

French Grand Prix winner Casey Stoner was back on track today, the Australian getting his first impression of the 2012 1000cc Honda prototype – the bike with which he will attack the 2012 MotoGP World Championship.HRC test riders Kosuke Akiyoshi and Shinichi Ito have been testing the bike since April in Japan, but this was the first time the bike was ridden outside of Japan with Stoner doing laps at Jerez in Spain.Stoner’s teammate Dani Pedrosa was supposed to join Stoner at the test, but the Spaniard suffered a broken collarbone when he crashed in the French GP on Sunday.Stoner completed 50 laps today, using the same Bridgestones that he’s been using on his RC212V in addition to new prototype tires being built for use in 2012.Each manufacturer is allowed eight days of testing during the season with contracted riders on the 2012 machine. After checking today’s data and the weather forecast, HRC will decide whether or not to continue testing tomorrow with Stoner. HRC will then choose how to make the best use of the remaining days left to work on track with the new prototype, hoping Pedrosa recovers soon to also give his feedback on the new machine.”Everything has gone very well, very positive,” Stoner said. “It’s just nice to ride the 1000cc again, to feel the engine and the power. I had a lot of fun, I enjoyed the first day because everything we’ve tried seems to be working, so no complaints. The biggest disappointment is that Dani [Pedrosa] is not going be here to test, as he is important to the development of this bike. I hope that soon HRC can get his input as well because we need as much data as possible, in order to be ready for next season. We didn’t focus on anything special today, just tried to understand what the bike is doing, how it reacts on the brakes and things like that, also considering some the issues we have with the 800cc right now. The braking point seems to be stronger, stability in the front going into the corner seems to be very good, and of course we want to understand how the power delivery is, and it is very smooth so no problem. In general, we haven’t changed too much from the set up we have on the 800cc right now and the feeling is very similar, so it’s pretty good.”HRC’s executive vice president Shuhei Nakamoto was also pleased with how the test went.”I think we had a good day of testing, the machine worked well as we hoped, without any specific issues,” he said. “Of course, it’s just the first day so we will need to improve but we tested many things and everything was okay. Casey is happy with a more powerful engine, also drivability was okay and on the chassis side we need to keep progressing. Unfortunately, Dani is not here and it would be better to have both riders’ feedback. Casey’s comments are very similar to the ones we received from the test riders, and this is good. Hopefully we can get Dani’s impressions soon to keep working on the development.”