Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa tested a new prototype RC213V at the post Italian Grand Prix test today at the Mugello Circuit. Though Honda reports the test was positive, Stoner didn’t sound so convincing.
“We had a new engine and new chassis to test today,” Stoner said in a team release. “With the engine we found some improvements, a little smoother and some more power. As far as chassis goes, I didn’t find any real benefits. We tried many different things, but couldn’t get a better feeling. There were a few small areas that improved, but nothing in terms of performance or for the lap time – just a marginally better feeling under braking. It wasn’t really the test we were looking for. We had hoped to find something to help us get rid of the chatter and give us some more feeling in the middle of the corner, but unfortunately we didn’t find this. If we can have the new engine with the current chassis, it’s the best combination, but we’re not sure if we can have it in time for Laguna Seca – we’ll have to wait and see”.
Stoner lapped at a best of 1:47.551 – a time that put him third behind Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo, the World Championship leader who won yesterday’s Italian Grand Prix. Lorenzo did his best of 1:47.435 before lunch, then called it a day.
Pedrosa ended up second with a 1:47.549 – .2 of a second faster than his best lap from yesterday’s Grand Prix. But he did that time on his “old” bike after crashing the new one in the morning.
“We tested many things today and I’m happy because we found some positives with the new engine and also with the new chassis that can help us in the second part of the season,” Pedrosa said. “I was really hoping for some improvements after the issues we have had with the extra weight, chattering and the front tires and in this test we made a step forward. Honda is working very hard and I’m sure they will do their best to be able to supply us the new parts for Laguna and the following races, but we’ll see if it’s possible with the engine allocations; anyway, it would be very good for us.
“The engine is better into the corner, the engine brake is smoother and the bike is not so sharp when you close the throttle, so this helps you to get into the corner. I made my best lap time on my current bike; it’s normal as I’m used to it. With the new bike I made a mistake shifting gears and I had a small crash on my third lap, so I couldn’t do a longer run, but the feeling was also positive.”