Five-times MotoGP world champion Mick Doohan reckons the impressive 2011 factory Honda RC212V is making winning races a much easier job for Casey Stoner than when he was at Ducati.
Doohan, who enjoyed unrivalled domination of the MotoGP series between 1994 and ’98, said it was obvious that Stoner was finding it less of a mental and physical challenge to ride the Honda fast than it was to tame the brutal Ducati.
Stoner has made a brilliant start to his HRC career and has already won three out of the opening five races, including back-to-back dominant wins in Le Mans and Catalunya.
He heads into this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone trailing reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo by only seven-points.
Speaking exclusively to MCN, Doohan said: “For Casey just hopping on the Honda has been a relief after being on that Ducati, which is hit or miss. He spent a lot of time riding it over the top 99 per cent of the time and that’s why the mistakes were made. I think the year that he won the championship on it was the best it was and after that it was just hard to control. For Casey with the Honda it just feels so much easier. The Honda was pretty good last year but they have made some improvements and Casey has grabbed it with both hands and been on the pace right from the start. Any of those Japanese bikes, especially the Yamaha and Honda, will feel like a delight to ride after riding that Ducati, so he can probably push it beyond what the other guys are capable of and still feel comfortable compared to where he was on the Ducati. Riding that Honda on the edge to where other people think it is scary, well it probably feels like as safe as a house to Casey compared to what the Ducati was like.”
For more exclusive thoughts from Mick Doohan, see an exclusive interview in today’s MCN and details on tickets for the British MotoGP race, check out www.silverstone.co.uk