Casey Stoner fears a repeat of the severe chatter that ruined his bid to claim pole position in Qatar last night could also deny him the chance to claim the first victory of the new 1000cc era at the Losail International Circuit.
The Australian, who won the first race of the 800cc era in Qatar back in 2007, will start tonight’s 22-lap race from second place on the front row after Spanish Yamaha rival Jorge Lorenzo denied him pole.
The Repsol Honda rider’s quickest lap of 1.54.855 was 0.221s behind the 2010 world champion and he blamed a chronic chatter issue that has dogged him throughout winter testing.
Stoner’s RC213V machine has struggled with chatter, which is a severe vibration under braking and corner entry, ever since Bridgestone introduced its new softer tyres for the 2012 season.
The double MotoGP world champion said: “It definitely didn't go the way we wanted it to. We just sort of made the bike worse and worse and it's becoming a lot more difficult to ride with a lot more chatter and basically we went in a full circle and came back to the same situation that we started here on Thursday.
"The only improvement being we were on a soft tyre to make a lap time and the track conditions are a little better than Thursday. We can go back to what we had last night (Friday), but we're still not completely happy with that so we've got to make some big steps for the race.
"We need to try and reduce this chatter again and try and get a little bit better feeling with the bike, because in the state that we finished qualifying we are not happy with and not feeling comfortable enough.
"If the bike is for the race like it was in qualifying, it's near on impossible for a race win, but we'll push as hard as we can.”