Stoner: We can still improve the bike quite a bit

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Defending double world champion Casey Stoner will head into the first race of the new 1000cc MotoGP era having been fastest in all three 2012 pre-season tests.

Quickest at the two Sepang visits, the Repsol Honda rider completed the sweep by deposing Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo from the head of the Sunday Jerez test timesheets by 0.173sec on his 61st and final lap.

“Today we were really pleased with the lap times we're running but I think we can still improve the bike quite a bit before the race here. Anyway we feel like we've made some progress on a track like this for us,” said Stoner.

Whilst the late run grabbed the limelight, Stoner's pace during a long (for him) ten flying-lap run was equally formidable. The most successful rider of the previous 800cc MotoGP era recording nine laps under 1m 40s (see below).

The Jerez race distance is a much longer 27 laps, which Lorenzo and Stoner's team-mate Dani Pedrosa chose to complete (see separate stories), but in the past Stoner has been able to effectively replicate full distances by starting his 'mini' simulations with well-worn tyres and high fuel loads.

“We did a lot of laps and a longer run to get a little more understanding of fuel consumption and things like this and in general we're satisfied with how the whole test has gone for us. Now we can go racing which is what we really enjoy.”

The only real negative of the Australian's pre-season has been a stubborn chatter problem at the Malaysian tests, related to the latest Bridgestone tyres. Stoner revealed he felt some vibration again on Sunday, but doesn't think it's related.

“Towards the end of the day we had some chattering but we have an idea what caused this and it's not the same as in Sepang,” he said.

Pedrosa was third fastest, 0.204sec behind Stoner.

Stoner and his #1 RC213V will next be on track for opening practice in Qatar, on the evening of Thursday April 5. The Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez will take place at the end of April.

Stoner's Jerez test 'mini' race simulation:

1. 1:55.240
2. 1:39.411
3. 1:39.285
4. 1:39.491
5. 1:39.753
6. 1:39.845
7. 1:39.872
8. 1:40.113
9. 1:39.777
10. 1:39.645
11. 1:39.781

Average (10 flying laps): 1m 39.700s
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