Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner ended today’s opening day of practice and qualifying as the fastest rider at the Silverstone Circuit. Even though he mastered the tricky conditions the best, he was far from happy – especially with the British circuit.
“I really enjoy the circuit, the layout, but unfortunately the new surface they put on a couple of corners is worse than last year,” Stoner said. “I mean the surface was destroyed last year, but this year it’s extremely bumpy. I don’t think they tried to smooth out; I think they just put [it] on top of the old one. So it’s a little bit disappointing. [If you] have a track like this, why not put the effort and make everything perfect?”
Stoner was most critical of turns six and seven.
“It’s turn six/seven,” Stoner said. “They already resurfaced the last two corners last year…. but all the last couple of corners just before the old main straight. So disappointing. I came here and I thought the worst part of the track should be fixed and in fact it’s actually worse and it’s very difficult to ride on. So, yeah, slightly disappointing.”
Surprisingly, the bumps and grip were better in the wet than in the dry, according to Stoner.
“No, the wet made it slightly better grip-wise, a little more consistent,” he said. “But it’s the bumps in the dry that make it difficult. I think I saw all the bikes out there today. It was really nervous and very difficult to ride. Wet conditions were a little bit slippery, but in general they’re okay. Dry conditions… the track was consistent, the grip was okay, but it was just the bumps that were causing a lot of problems.”
And Stoner says he’s still having issues with the newest Bridgestone front tire.
“I don’t want to think about the old ones,” he said. “I’m still not happy with the new one and, honestly, I think, especially when we get to tracks when you’re on extremely heavy braking, I can see a lot of riders that maybe preferred it in the beginning, not so much in the end. So we’ll see how it goes on during the season, but no one really had any issues with the old one, so it’s just puzzling. We’ll make do with what we have and make it work one way or another.”
One thing Stoner was happy about was a reduction in rear-wheel chatter.
“It’s reduced a lot,” Stoner said when asked about chatter. “We still had a tiny bit. The first few laps this afternoon we tried to make a step forward and still had a little bit there, but nothing to the levels that we had in the past so hopefully tomorrow we can make some more improvements and be a little bit more sure of completely cutting the chatter out.”