Casey Stoner might have topped the timesheets in a wet second MotoGP practice session at the Motorland Aragon track today, but the Australian wasn’t overly impressed with the stunning new Spanish venue.
Having finished fourth quickest in the dry this morning, the 24-year-old was in brilliant form in wet conditions this afternoon.
His quickest time of 2.01.710 saw him easily beat Fiat Yamaha rival Jorge Lorenzo by 0.568s and he said he has been surprised at how much grip was provided by the new Aragon surface in tricky conditions.
The 2007 world champion said: “I was surprised because there are maybe two points that are a bit slippery but not in really dangerous areas. It is strange because the surface doesn’t give you a lot of feedback but it doesn’t do anything wrong. You can feel the bike and the tyres moving on the surface so you know they won’t do anything crazy or quickly on you. But at the same time you don’t get a sensation of what it is actually doing.”
Stoner confirmed this afternoon’s dismal weather thwarted his plan to run a radical new set-up on his factory Ducati GP10 machine.
He has a new seat position, geometry and shorter swingarm length ready to experiment with but he said: ““We didn’t do any runs this morning. We were supposed to do that for this afternoon. The first part of the session was getting some laps in learning the track and this afternoon would have been handy to get out on that setting. We’ll decide if it is wet tomorrow if we’ll run it but if it is dry we’ll definitely run it. This morning would have been better but on the second run I had a wheel out of balance so there was a lot of chatter on the left side of the tyre. Tomorrow we know we can be a lot better in the dry as well.”
Stoner said he didn’t particularly dislike the new Motorland Aragon but in his opinion the track had no obvious standout sections.
He said: “This track seems to be different. It’s a little bit slower than what I expected and I already expected it to be reasonably slow paced. There is not really any fast section but the best corner is the last turn. It is open and wide and there could be some overtaking opportunities there.
"It is difficult to pick where you make the exit but right now I’m pretty happy with that part of it. I don’t hate it but it’s not fun. You go to Mugello, Phillip Island and Brno on corners where you can really hang it out. Here, almost all the corners you brake all the way in on the edge of the tyre and it makes it very nerve wracking.
"Other than the last corner there is not really any enjoyable part of the track. In its own way it has got something but it wasn’t designed for bike racing a whole lot.”
Stoner also proved that previous testing experience at the circuit counted for little after he posted competitive times in the dry and wet.
Several riders including Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and factory Ducati team-mate Nicky Hayden had used production road bikes to familiarise themselves with the circuit.
Stoner had opted not to test and he said it was obviously no major disadvantage.
He said: “ Obviously you have to go to tracks and practice. This is something that I’ve been talking about for years and people making excuses for not knowing tracks. For me it is not an excuse.
"I can understand you not being on the pace right away but by the end of the weekend you should be able to run pretty much the same pace. It has been no problem me learning this track. It took me five or six laps this morning to understand where everything was and then slowly but surely improved braking markers.”