British MotoGP: Casey Stoner worried by Honda pace

Published: 18 June 2012

Casey Stoner says he is more worried about the pace of his Honda RC213V machine than he is about falling 25-points behind Jorge Lorenzo after a third straight defeat in yesterday’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Stoner was leading at the Northamptonshire track until the halfway stage when Lorenzo powered his factory Yamaha YZR-M1 machine into first and the Spaniard went unchallenged to record his third successive victory.

Aussie Stoner has struggled with a rear chatter issue all season and the introduction from Silverstone onwards of a new softer construction Bridgestone front tyre has also generated a front-end vibration too.

Stoner hasn’t won since the third round of the season in Estoril and he said: “I’m more worried about our pace to be honest. That’s the thing that’s disappointing me a lot. Championships can turn around in one race.

"The way Jorge’s going it’s not going to happen but one DNF and one race win for myself and we’re equal on points and it’s game on again. We don’t know what can happen later on this season, but we’ve got to keep fighting and at least either close the gap or not let it increase.

"I could’ve lost a lot more points than what we did and I’m happy that we held on for second, but things could’ve gone a lot better too. So we’ve got to turn ourselves around.”

Stoner said the list of problems for Honda’s technical staff was increasing and he added: “We made an improvement in Catalunya with the rear chatter. We know we’ve got front chatter already from Portugal but now it’s extreme with this new front tyre. I voiced this from the first moment that we tested this tyre.

"We’ve developed the whole bike around the one before, and they’ve put a new one in a third of the way into season and it’s just really put us into a difficult situation. We thought we’d been able to set things up around it, and we’ve been able to thus far, but we’ve got a long season.”

Stoner’s bid to finish his last British Grand Prix appearance with a victory was ended by a lack of rear grip with his Bridgestone rear tyre choice.

He added: “I knew that Jorge had a higher pace than Ben (Spies), so my first thought was just to stay at the front, try to brake as late as I can and not make mistakes. But already very early on when I was behind Ben I started struggling a lot with the left hand side of the tyre.

"Every time I went into a left corner the rear wanted to come around and I just couldn’t get any drive or traction out of it, so we started struggling a lot. Jorge started catching and then in the middle of the corner it was easy for him to turn up the inside of us and get past.

"I tried to fight and keep with the plan and just try and stay in front. I knew we were strong on the brakes, but it just wasn’t possible. Every time I went up the inside of Jorge and tried to keep corner speed he’d just drive back around the outside of me so it was almost impossible.

"When we got to the first real left-hander and it was game over. He just pulled straight away and I just couldn’t do anything, so for a couple laps I tried to brake deep to just keep in touch with him. But every time I did that I’d lose the rear and make a mistake.

"Trying to catch Jorge and trying to protect my position from Dani (Pedrosa) made things very difficult. So I changed the engine mapping for the engine brake and tried to get it a little smoother going into the turns but it wasn’t enough. It was too little too late and we were having to take some big risks to keep up.”

For 11 pages of coverage from the Silverstone round, see the June 20 issue of MCN.