Casey Stoner gives insight into new 1000s

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Reigning MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner has given his views and opinions on what it is like to ride Honda’s new factory RC213V machine ahead of the start of the new 1000cc world championship era in 2012.

The Australian, who recently celebrated becoming a father for the first time with the arrival of his daughter Alessandra on February 16, was speaking ahead of the second Sepang test in Malaysia that starts next week.

The Repsol Honda rider dominated the opening winter test at Sepang earlier this month, even though he missed one day with a back problem.

With 11 wins last season on his way to a second world title, the 26-year-old is an overwhelming favourite to defend his crown and he reckons a major improvement in the braking stability of the new RC213V will significantly help his cause.

Speaking about the riding style difference between the new 1000cc and 800cc machine he rode last season, Stoner said: “The only thing I think, not so much from the 1000 to 800, but just an improvement that we’ve made with Honda, is braking stability.

“The wheelbase is maybe a little different and when we go on the brakes we’ve got a bit more stability as we’re going into the corner. The rear is not wanting to hop up as much. So we can actually sink our hands into the brakes a lot harder.

“So it’s actually changing the braking points by a little bit less than what we’d expected, because our bike has improved quite substantially in that point.

“I’d say corner entry is exactly the same. Everything from that point on is very similar. I think it’s mainly just chassis-wise that we’ve improved. The weight of the bike is exactly the same, the way it’s going to react is very similar, if not the same.”

The 800s required a precise riding style with the short braking zone and high corner speeds. But Stoner believes the approach is no different in the 1000cc era and he added: “In a small way I think maybe, because of that extra torque you’ve got you can just square the corner off then and shoot it out.

“But the 800s already had a lot of power. And especially by the end of their time they already had a quite substantial amount and too much. You’re still spinning up everywhere.

“So I’d say, no. I think you’ve still got to ride them in a very similar way. Try to ride them very accurately and everyone’s just trying to massage out the bugs at the moment.”

And Stoner doesn’t buy into the theory that the extra horsepower and torque of the 1000s will give riders leeway to get away with mistakes more.

“The 800s, maybe you were carrying a little bit more corner speed. Because you didn’t have the same power on the 800s then you didn’t have the same problems with wheelies.

“The 1000s, of course, especially on a small track with a short gearbox, is just going to want to wheelie quite a lot, so that’s going to be something you’ll have to think about. So they did turn a little bit harder and you keep a little bit more throttle in the middle of the turn really. But such a minute amount.

“You can still ride them in exactly the same way. I was watching some of the lines out there of everybody and looking at some of the black marks. They’re using the whole track still. I’m using less and less of the track, because I’m happy with that extra bit of torque.

“But in general you can still ride them in both ways. At this point it just feels very similar to the 800. The only thing that’s different for us is the way the chassis feels. Like I said, I think we’ve made some improvements with that.

“And just corner exit, we’re able to use that power a lot better, we’re able to get a more torque out of the engine, have a lot more control with the engine because it’s not so peaky.

“And actually I’ve found a lot more traction. Because of the extra torque and control, it wants to drive out of the corner a lot longer before it spins,“ said Stoner.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt