While the 2013 MotoGP season has been favored with fair weather, Casey Stoner’s testing duties for Honda have been severely hindered by rain.

The previous test was a washout, and most of the last two days at Motegi were also badly affected by rain. However, the Australian managed to cram the better part of two days’ work into a single day on Thursday, riding both the 2014 RC213V and Honda’s production racer, the Honda RCV1000R.

Stoner was impressed with the progress made on the factory machine, speaking of ‘big modifications and improvement’ in the press release issued by Honda. It was also the first opportunity Stoner had to ride the Honda RCV1000R, a moment which had been highly anticipated by followers of the sport.

Stoner’s impression of the bike was very positive, saying in the press release that it felt like a factory Honda with less power and a slightly different feel in engine braking. Though no lap times were revealed for Stoner – all Honda personnel sworn to secrecy, and no other factories present at Motegi to leak times – the press release said that he circulated at “high average speeds worthy of the RC213V.”

When put next to reports that test rider Takumi Takahashi lapped half a second slower on the RCV1000R than on the RC213V, that would put Stoner’s time within a few tenths of his time on the factory bike. That would make Honda’s production racer a very competitive package.

That could be one reason why Aspar is considering a switch from Aprilia to Honda’s production racer. According to reports on GPOne, the Aspar squad have spoken to HRC principal Livio Suppo about purchasing two of Honda’s production racers. Aspar’s main concern are the rumors that Ducati is trying to tempt Aprilia technical chief Gigi dall’Igna to the Bologna factory.

Dall’Igna has been the driving force behind development of both Aprilia’s RSV4 WSBK machine, and the ART bike raced in MotoGP. So far, Dall’Igna has shown no interest in a move to Ducati, however. One source close to Aprilia suggest that Dall’Igna could have started the rumors himself, to strengthen his hand inside Aprilia.

But perhaps Aspar’s interest in the Honda is born of a more practical and pressing need. With the loss of Power Electronics as a sponsor, Aspar is in a more precarious financial position than they have been for a while. That makes them more dependent on Aprilia as a supplier, to the extent that Aprilia looks to be underwriting both riders in the Aspar squad.

Honda, on the other hand, have three production RCV1000Rs which are in the process of being built, but which have not yet been sold. A persistent rumor in the paddock insists that Honda could be tempted to part with them at a knockdown price, and selling them to a team with a proven track record would be an attractive choice.

That, however, would leave Aspar without riders. If both Nicky Hayden and – most probably – Eugene Laverty are being paid by Aprilia, then Aspar would have no one to put on the bike. Likewise, Aprilia would have two riders under contract, and no team to put them on. Despite the clear potential of the RCV1000R, the chances of Aspar actually racing them look relatively slim.

Below is the press release from HRC after Stoner’s test at Motegi

Stoner tests Honda Production Racer after bad weather again causes delay

HRC test rider Casey Stoner today tested the Honda RC213V works machine currently racing in the MotoGP class, and the “MotoGP Production Racer” as part of Honda’s development tests at the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit in Tochigi, Japan.

Casey was unable to ride yesterday on the first day of scheduled testing, due to poor weather, but testing commenced as planned today under cloudy skies. In the morning, Casey tested the RC213V MotoGP works machine, and in the afternoon he also tested the Production Racer, a machine being developed based on the RC213V. Despite it being his first ride on the test model, Stoner lapped the circuit with high average speeds worthy of the RC213V. Honda is developing the track-only Production Racer to enable teams and riders to race in the MotoGP class in 2014 with a reasonable budget.

At 15h45 local time bad weather once again brought proceedings to an end.

Casey Stoner

“Unfortunately the weather played a big role in this test which was a little frustrating not to be able to share the workload over the two days. We tried to do everything today but it was a little difficult, and we also had the threat of rain again. We started with the current RCV, trying to find a base setting and then work from there. We had two variations of chassis’ to try and some big modifications and improvements in my opinion. We also tried the production bike which was more impressive than I predicted. It had a similar feeling to the RCV but with a little less power and a different feeling in engine braking. With some small modifications I believe this bike will be competitive and I look forward to the next test with it! In general it was a good, but busy day!”

Source: HRC, MCN & GPOne; Photo: Repsol Media

  • TexusTim

    Interesting, It’s not confirmed Hayden has signed with Aprila is it? I hope he held but if he did sign with Aprilla someone will put something together…both bikes should be fast right out of the box.
    ironic that we may see Honda and Aprilla got at it in the CRT class and push eahc other in development :thats win win.

  • Anvil did an exclusive interview with Hayden last week, during which he indicated that the production Honda is still under consideration. I’m suprised that none of the other press outlets asked him about it when they had the chance. It totally flew under the radar.

    We all know that American Honda and LCR were pretty eager to put a package together for him, but the rumors were that that option was all but dead. Maybe this is what he was referring to.

    It’s pretty clear why there’s been no announcement in any case. I would imagine that even if Hayden has already signed with Aprilia, he’s probably got a clause in there that requires him to be placed with Aspar (since he was very impressed by the team) or an equivalent. And being that there might not be an Aspar, and there’s no equivalent yet, there might not be an executable contract, either.

  • MikeD

    ” Stoner’s impression of the bike was very positive, saying in the press release that it felt like a factory Honda with LESS POWER and a slightly different feel in engine braking. ”

    LOL, it all sounds like paying top $$$ for sloppy seconds. WELL PLAYED HONDA, WELL PLAYED.

    Throw them a TASTY morsel but keep the four course meal to yourself. I don’t blame you, this is a competition after all, RIGHT ? ! B.S. !

  • pooch

    MikeD, what Rubbish you talk. Look at the price for an Factory RCV and look at the price for the Proddie racer, then examine what is said to be a few tenths slower and you have an extremely good option that is not a Piece of rubbish CRT. Honda and Yam Prod racers will be far more competitive than ALL of the CRT bikes and that will mean closer, and better racing, and that’s what everyone wants to see.

  • 2ndclass

    Yeah, because it’s not as though that’s what every factory that’s been involved in Grand Prix racing since its inception has done or anything.

  • coreyvwc

    Desmosedici destroyer, plain and simple. Very dark days ahead for the the boys from Bologna next year…

  • MikeD


    LMAO. Yes we all want the CRTs gone. But none of that changes the fact that anything else but “the originals” (FACTORY MACHINES) are truly the ones with the real chance and the sharpest edge.


    Look a your “home-boy” Crutchlow and his latest comments about is fancy M1’s engine conspiracy theory . . . and his bike is not some CRT but a full M1, just not a factory. Smoke and screens ? All in his head ? Making excuses for broken talent ? Who knows ? But his nowhere near the Factory Hondas.

    Any and ALL production racers will always be the Maids but never Bride Material (Hardware Wise).

    The only way you’ll see it win would be in the hands of a Super Alien that can ride circles around the current ones and their top spec tools and then some bad luck “showers” on said current Aliens.

    Is it better than a CRT ? I want to say YES. Time will tell.

  • smiler

    “That would make Honda’s production racer a very competitive package”. It will never be as competitive as the factory bikes but more competitive than the current CRT bikes. So MotoGP will remain a 3 tier championship. Honda are not stupid enough to make it as competitive as the factory and satelite bikes running factory bikes.

  • Kirk

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see all motogp bikes heading in the direction of the production racers. This may just be a first step.

  • 2ndclass

    The rules for 2014 would very much indicate that is the direction the series is being taken:

    The rules are now making the full-factory bikes the exception rather than the rule.

  • Anvil


    The RCV1000R will be decent. That’s it. It’ll never be allowed to be anything other than a third-tier bike.
    Same goes for the Forward FTR-M1s, although at least they’ll eventually be able to play with the chassis.

    The Aprilia is not beholden to finish behind any other bike. It’s the only non-factory option bike that has a prayer of finishing anywhere closer to the front. Aprilia is behind the program and looks to be quietly assembling a factory-type effort. A long shot is better than a guaranteed loser.

    The production packages offered by Honda and Yamaha are only a way to appease Dorna for the next couple of years while ensuring the factory caste system stays in place. In 2017, you may see all the “factory option” bikes go away, like Kirk mentioned.

    What you’re rooting for is Honda placing as many lame ducks on the grid as possible in the meantime so they can ensure that their prototypes finish as high up the order as possible.

    Honda wants this: 1. Repsol Hondas beat the factory Yamahas, factory Ducatis and everthing else on the grid, 2. LCR and Gresini beat the Tech 3 Yamahas, Pramac Ducatis (and probably factory Ducatis, too!) and all the “MotoGP” (non “factory option”) bikes. 3. The RCV1000Rs beat the other “MotoGP” entries.

    Aprilia is a wild card that is currently the only hope of disrupting this plan.

    Incidentally, of course Honda is claiming the bike is fast. They’d like to sell the three that they don’t have buyers for and maybe knock some Aprilias off the grid.

  • Factory based racers are probably the future for motogp. As great as pneumatic valves are they likely won’t be brought into the production space with weight considerations and price. Personally it looks like they are going to phase out wsbk for the step ladder they have created in gp racing.