Casey Stoner expected to race new Honda motor in Laguna Seca

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Reigning world champion Casey Stoner is expected to race a brand new Honda RC213V motor in the Laguna Seca MotoGP round later this month.

The Aussie got his first chance to evaluate a brand new RC213V during a one-day test session at Mugello yesterday and he was happy with the performance of a new V4 motor.

The 26-year-old though won’t ask HRC to ship a complete version of the new spec RC213V to California after he failed to be impressed with a new frame.

The introduction of a softer rear tyre option from Bridgestone for 2012 significantly improved initial warm-up performance but left HRC with severe chatter.

And a new softer front tyre that became the standard option from Bridgestone at Silverstone has been blasted by Stoner and team-mate Pedrosa for creating front-end chatter.

Honda hoped the new RC213V would be step forward to solving the chatter issues but Stoner felt no benefit from the new chassis.

He set a best time of 1.47.551 to finish third fastest behind world championship leader Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa and he told MCN: “The new engine I’m quite happy with. It gives me a lot better feeling off the bottom and I am able to ride a little smoother in the change of direction at this track. You can control it a lot better.

“I don’t want the new chassis. I wasn’t happy with it. It felt very hard and very heavy to change direction. There were no benefits, only disadvantages compared to the standard bike so I am not interested to try it further.

“I didn’t get any benefits from it so there were no positive points, so I decided to stay with the standard bike. It was a little disappointing.

“We tried something else at the front of the bike and we got a little better feeling at the front and I was able to run a bit more corner speed. But it was also difficult to tell if it was improving because of track conditions or the bike. We need to confirm that in Laguna.

“But I didn’t get any more feeling out of the front with the new bike and didn’t get anymore rear grip and couldn’t ride like I could the standard bike. Normally I can adapt quickly to a new bike and find it’s good points but this time there was nothing to be really happy about.”

HRC told MCN that if Stoner wanted to use the new spec engine in Laguna Seca it would be able to supply him two but he said: “If everything goes well we should be able to use it. That was the main improvement.”

Stoner heads to California next week on the back of a successive disastrous results that have left him 37-points behind world championship leader Lorenzo.

He crashed out of second on the final lap in Germany and recovered to eighth in Mugello on Sunday after running off track while in fifth.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt