Australia's Casey Stoner has made an impressive start to his 2011 MotoGP World Championship campaign with Honda, setting the second fastest time on day one at Valencia's post-season test on Tuesday.
Australia’s Casey Stoner has made an impressive start to his 2011 MotoGP World Championship campaign with Honda, setting the second fastest time on day one at Valencia’s post-season test on Tuesday.
Stoner made his way onto the circuit just after lunch time and immediately got down to work, eventually setting a best lap of 1:32.775, just 0.763 behind Yamaha’s defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo.
“I had a very good day. I was disappointed that we couldn’t get a full session in this morning because of the weather, but it dried out and gave us some hours of good track time this afternoon,” Stoner told MotoGP.com.
“It’s been very exciting these past few days waiting to get on the bike, and then having to wait again this morning. It’s been a great experience to get back on a Honda, the way it feels is fantastic.”
Stoner, who is returning to Honda for the first time since 2006 when he rode the LCR Honda sattelite bike, ran with the 2010 version of the RCV chassis, using one of Dani Pedrosa’s 2010 race machines.
The 25-year-old concentrated his efforts on finding the best possible riding position to suit his style and when reasonably comfortable on the RCV moved on to setting up the RCV for serious lap times.
As in all forms of automoto racing the electronics play a huge part in machine set up and the RC212V debutant devoted considerable attention to that aspect of machine performance.
“We’ve been working on a few different things but mainly just trying to get a bit of a better feel, and things like my seating position and brake levers. The day has been great. Tomorrow we have a few more things to work on and try.
“We’re trying to understand the electronics system and what sort of direction we want to go in, and at the same time trying to get comfortable with the bike. There’s no point giving a lot of data at the moment but at the same time we have to try and push on because there’s not a lot of test time before the start of the season.
“We need to get as much information as possible before the winter break.”
HRC vice president Shuhei Nakamoto confirmed that Stoner will test a 2011 model on Wednesday.
“We will test with many new parts,” said Nakamoto. “We are still developing now and we have many parts here including chassis, swing-arms, engines etc. We have many testing items here. We have four factory supported riders next year.
“We have a plan one rider tests this another other parts. Including chassis, we have frame body, we are still developing and we have two different types of chassis here. We will ask one for Dani, one for Casey, one for Andrea [Dovizioso], one for Marco [Simoncelli].”
Interestingly, Stoner’s fastest lap of the race on Sunday was a 1:33.018, when he raced to second behind Lorenzo in the season finale.