Casey Stoner believes Honda’s impressive new RC213V machine has plenty of room for improvement, despite the Aussie and team-mate Dani Pedrosa’s domination of last week’s 1000cc test in Valencia.
Pedrosa topped the two-day test session with Stoner a close second as HRC kicked off the 1000cc era dominating just as it did at the end of the 800cc era.
Only Stoner managed to lap within a half-a-second of Pedrosa and the 2011 world champion is confident the RC213V can become a much more potent package ahead of the start of next season in Qatar on April 15.
The 26-year-old is still looking to dial out a chatter issue that has emerged from the new generation Bridgestone tyres.
Stoner is happy with grip and warm-up performance with the softer construction rubber Bridgestone has developed for 2012, but he has been hindered by a chatter issue since his debut on the RC213V at Jerez back in May.
The Repsol Honda rider told MCN: "I’d like to see a few more things improve with the bike for the next test in Sepang but I think everybody else is going to be in the same boat. Now we need to understand better the 2012 tyres because the feeling is quite a lot different with them. Performance seems quite good but we have a few problems with chatter. We find the front tyre gives us quite a lot of chatter and that is something we are trying to improve and the new bike helped with that slightly but we’d still like to improve it more.
"The first version of the chassis, I preferred the balance of the bike but the second version I tried in Brno reduced the chatter quite a lot, so if we can find something in the middle either with set-up or a different stiffness with the chassis, maybe this is the answer. Something we had also in the 800s was a lack of feeling and chatter coming from the rear on the way into the corner and it is something we still need to improve with the 1000, but we know we’ve got a couple of directions to try. But number one target right now is less chatter, though we still need some better engine braking improvements and corner entry stability with the rear."
Stoner said he would get more of an indication of the potential of the RC213V when winter testing resumed in Sepang on January 31 and he added: "We’ll see how it goes in hotter conditions. We know from this track (Valencia) in the past not to rely too much on what we find out. Too many times we have left here really happy and gone to another track and it has been a disaster. Sepang is where everything will really start. We got some direction from this test but Sepang is where we’ll start to find out what settings start to work best."
And after winning 10 races in an outstanding 2011 campaign, Stoner also said that his motivation would not be an issue next season as HRC tries to win the inaugural 1000cc series.
He added: "We had such a great season this year and I’ll definitely have motivation for next year. At this point I’m tired and it has been a long season. After we won the championship of course I was still motivated but testing is not my favourite thing to do. I’m already thinking about next season more than the test."