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Stoner’s verdict on the 2012 Honda machine

Stoner’s verdict on the 2012 Honda machine

After testing the developing prototype at Jerez on Tuesday the Australian rider gave his impressions.

How was the first shakedown of the 2012 bike?
“Everything’s gone very well, very positive. It’s nice just to be riding a 1000cc bike again to be honest, to feel the engine and feel the power again. Even using the higher gears on the 800cc it normally runs out of power, this one is still going, still pushing and still spinning. It was a lot of fun, I definitely enjoyed the first day. Everything we have tried so far seems to be working so no complaints with the bike, this is definitely the right way to go. For our first test I think the biggest disappointment is that Dani (Pedrosa) was not here to test the bike. I think his input for this bike was going to be very important and hopefully later in the year we can get as much input from him as possible, which would be good. We need as much data as we can on this bike, ready for next season, so far we’re very happy with it.”

Given that this was the first day of testing on the bike, what was the focus?
“It was basically just a shakedown of the bike to understand what it’s doing, how it reacts under braking, and things like that. Trying to iron out some of the weaknesses we’ve got with the 800cc now and it seems to be working. The braking point seems to be a lot stronger than we’ve had in the past. Stability in the front going into the turn also seems to be very good. Of course they want to know the characteristics of the power. Being a 1000cc it’s a bit more lean than an 800cc, being a bit more aggressive on the power. The 1000cc is just so smooth. You’ve got that much feeling with it, there’s no problems.”

How similar, or different, is it to the 800cc bike that you are currently riding?
“The general feel of it is very similar. There a few little positions here and there; footrest, seat and handlebars, which are slightly different, but in general the transition was quite quick because there wasn’t too much difference with the bike. It’s mainly power under braking which is definitely a lot better, just the power and how smooth it is and how much torque we’ve got to play with. We had to change the gearbox for this track (Jerez) because it’s working so much of a different range, compared to the 800cc. There are a few little things you’re going to have to get used to riding a 1000cc again but today was a lot of fun.”

What sort of feedback have you given to the engineers?
“Basically what they needed to hear, not so much about what direction to go in because I think they are pretty well set on their direction, as well as the fact it’s working so well. They haven’t changed so much from what we have got with the 800cc now. They have basically gone in that direction and just slightly changed chassis stiffness and things like that. We are just working on the actual bike at the moment, trying to get it working a little better with what we’ve got right now and then if we can’t, then of course they’ll go away and try and improve those areas. We’re definitely happy with the progress they’ve made.”

MotoGP, 2011, Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda Team

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