Casey Stoner’s frustration with the performance of Bridgestone’s 2012 tyres continued on the opening day of the Dutch TT at Assen today.
The Australian was languishing down in seventh position on the timesheets today, though his best time of 1.35.181 was only 0.315s slower than the best pace set by Texan Ben Spies.
Stoner once again blamed a chatter issue for his struggles on track that has come from new softer front and rear tyres introduced in 2012.
Honda has struggled to dial out a rear chatter issue that Stoner and Dani Pedrosa encountered on the factory RC213V machine during testing of the new 1000cc machine last year.
Progress has been made to improve the rear chatter, but HRC has been hit hardest by the introduction of a new softer construction front tyre, which is now the standard option available in MotoGP.
The new front has created a severe front chatter for Stoner and Pedrosa have both heavily criticised the decision to introduce the new front during the season.
Stoner’s unease with Bridgestone grew during the recent British Grand Prix when he blamed a severe deterioration in rear grip for his failure to defeat title rival Jorge Lorenzo.
And today the reigning world champion told MCN: “Unfortunately nothing we did this afternoon was in the right direction. We were trying so many things to reduce the chatter. We thought we would get a bit more stability out of the rear tyre but in fact it made our bike extremely nervous and we head no rear grip. We have to change the stiffness of the chassis and other things to try upset the balance of the chatter to reduce it in some way. But it is taking a lot of our time away from race set-up, so that is difficult. We've got another chassis that we have been trying and I haven't found too many positives with it yet. This morning it seemed like we had slightly less chatter in the front but it was a little bit more nervous. This afternoon we didn't find any benefit with it whatsoever, it was worse than the standard bike. The standard bike has a completely different geometry on it trying to change the weight distribution and balance of the bike but we are getting very similar results. I'm not really happy with the way it is. We are wasting time trying to get a race set-up but we have to reduce the chatter and get the bike feeling better. The chatter is mainly at the front, we still have rear chatter but we have reduced it quite a lot. We have complained about this new front tyre since we first tested it but it didn't matter because they put it on our bikes anyway. Compared to the tyres at the end of last year with this new tyre the chatter is beyond anything we have had before. It has made this extra, extra difficult."
Stoner went onto say that changes to the performance of the current generation tyres meant lap times on the more powerful and faster 1000s are not as fast as anticipated.
He said: "All year we've been on 1000s and we should have been smashing lap records but in my opinion the tyre level has come down so far it is crazy. There doesn't seem to any traction point in the rear tyres any more. They are the same grip level from edge to traction, there is no point where you can find more grip. The tyre levels have come down so far we are just getting worse and worse and people are doing the tests and saying it feels so much better with this new front but we are still going slower and slower. The performance isn't there and we are going in the wrong direction with tyres. It is really disappointing. The tyres we are riding now, it's a joke. They are not even close to the level they were at a couple of years ago. It is getting tougher."