To be the man, you have to beat the man, and after the final day of MotoGP’s pre-season test in Malaysia, Repsol Honda‘s Casey Stoner continues to be the man.
The reigning MotoGP World Champion didn’t let lingering soreness from the back problems that sidelined him for the first day of testing at Sepang slow him down. On just his second of 21 laps on the final day, Stoner set a blistering lap time of 1:59.607, besting second-fastest rider Jorge Lorenzo by 0.591 seconds.While there’s still some room for improvement to be found his Honda RC213V, Stoner will turn things over to the engineers and fly back home to Switzerland to his wife Adriana for the birth of their first child.
“It’s been a good test in general. We only managed two out of the three days, unfortunately, but the weather has been really good to us and we’ve been able to do what we planned. The day I missed hasn’t affected us too much and we’ve managed to complete our testing programme. To be honest, I think track conditions on the first day weren’t that great anyway, as the lap times were not so fast. I’m still not feeling great with my back, but the bike is ok, so we’ve made progress in reducing the chatter a little more and trying a few different things, some small settings on the shock that we haven’t tried before amongst other points. So far it’s been pretty positive, we’ll just have to wait and see what we have for the next test and hopefully improve a little more. Now I’m looking forward to getting home to Switzerland to see Adriana and await the arrival of our baby!” – Stoner
Dani Pedrosa wasn’t as fast as the father-to-be but still managed a third-best time of 2:00.256. Pedrosa says he needs to find improvement in braking and the electronics could use a tweak to help handle the power from the new 1000cc engines.
“Three days testing here in Malaysia is very tiring. This morning when I woke up I was pretty sore and stiff, but once I got running I was a little bit better. Anyway, it’s been worth it to do a general test of the engine, chassis and tyres and overall it is the biggest test we have done on this bike and we have good data to analyse and can start to build up points we need for the second test. As I said yesterday, the biggest point to improve is on braking, and we are also working on the electronics to improve the management of the power and the grip level. The chatter is still there; I know it’s something very difficult to fix, but I’m sure Honda is working hard on it. In general, it’s been a positive test for us and we will come back here in three weeks with new ideas. This bike is physically more demanding, you feel the power in the acceleration, the speed under hard braking and also the extra weight, but it’s alright. I will keep working hard physically to prepare for the second test.” – Pedrosa
Alvaro Bautista, of the San Carlo Gresini Honda satellite team, was the ninth-fastest, with his best time at 2:01.384. The ex-Suzuki rider says he was impressed with the RC213V’s electronics and power management. Stefan Bradl of the LCR Honda team was 11th on the time sheet at 2:01.894 and he says the team made adjustments to adapt the race bike to his riding style.