Casey Stoner was on the 2012 Honda MotoGP prototype race bike today, taking laps at Jerez under the sunny Spanish skies. Originally the test had included both Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, but with the Spaniard’s broken collarbone at the French GP, only the Australian was aboard the new HRC machine today. HRC test rider Shinichi Ito took the new 1,000cc bike out to the track in the morning, while Stoner swung his leg over the Honda later in the day.
“Everything has gone very well, very positive. It’s just nice to ride the 1000cc again, to feel the engine and the power,” said Stoner. “I had a lot of fun, I enjoyed the first day because everything we’ve tried seems to be working, so no complaints. The biggest disappointment is that Dani is not going be here to test as he is important to the development of this bike. I hope that soon HRC can get his input as well because we need as much data as possible, in order to be ready for next season.”
“We didn’t focus on anything special today, just tried to understand what the bike is doing, how it reacts on the brakes and things like that, also considering some the issues we have with the 800cc right now. The braking point seems to be stronger, stability in the front going into the corner seems to be very good, and of course we want to understand how the power delivery is, and it is very smooth so no problem . In general, we haven’t changed too much from the set up we have on the 800cc right now and the feeling is very similar, so it’s pretty good”.
The former World Champion completed 50 laps on the new Honda prototype, testing both the current 2011 Bridgestone tires, as well as the 2012 rubbers. HRC has been working on the 2012 MotoGP bike since 2009, and have based its design on the current 800cc machine. As the rules for 2012 will keep in place the 21 liter fuel limit and a 81mm bore restriction, it’s unclear what displacement any of teams will run in their 2012 machines, which should add an extra layer of intrigue to the pre-season testing.
With fuel consumption such a hot-button issue in the current 800cc class, the pressure put on manufacturers to build effecient 1,000cc class bikes is paramount. Accordingly, Repsol has been developing a special fuel and lubricant for the new MotoGP bike, focusing on a fuel that will not only offer optimum fuel efficiency, but also deliver maximum track performance.
Each manufacturer has eight days of testing during the season with contracted riders on their 2012 machines. HRC will go over its data today, and decide whether or not to continue testing tomorrow with Stoner. Dani Pedrosa presence is assured to be absent tomorrow, and the Spaniard is still a question mark for the Catalan GP.