Casey Stoner questions Honda competitiveness

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Casey Stoner has cast doubt on Honda’s ability to threaten in the early part of the 2009 MotoGP world championship.

The Aussie has dominated this year’s pre-season testing schedule by topping the timesheets in Sepang, Qatar and Jerez.

Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo have also impressed on the new factory Yamaha YZR-M1.

But for Honda it has been another gruelling winter and the new RC212V has struggled to match the pace of Ducati and Yamaha.

And Honda’s bid to close the gap has been seriously hampered by Dani Pedrosa’s latest injury problems.

“A big crash at the Qatar night test last month forced him to miss last weekend’s Jerez test, leaving HRC to rely on Andrea Dovizioso to do the bulk of the development work on the new RC212V.

The Italian though was only seventh fastest in Jerez last weekend and only two Hondas managed to break into the top ten.

And 2007 MotoGP world champion reckons it will be tough for Honda in the early part of ’09.

“They (Honda) seem to be missing a lot of testing and maybe at the moment it is a bit critical for them.

“I don’t know how competitive their package is because Dani hasn’t had enough time on the bike with his injury problems.

“They don’t seem to be at our level but we will have to wait and see what happens, “said Stoner.

Stoner’s domination of winter testing has made him red-hot favourite for the first race in Qatar on April 12.

How do you think Honda will perform in 2009? Post a comment below.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt