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Casey Stoner – 1000cc Q&A

Other riders believe your corner entry speed is off the charts. Do you feel the front end of the Honda allows you to do it with more confidence?

With the Honda I've definitely got a lot more confidence in the front end. Not always, but when we've got it working right then we know what it's doing. If it does go, it normally gives you a bit more of a warning as well. The whole chassis will flex in a different way. You'll feel the front go and you'll be able to pull it back. And so it's quite refreshing to be on a Honda this year and be able to push into corners. I know that when the front does go it's pretty much going to give me a warning first and that's something easier for me to live with because I'm able to pick up the bike a bit quicker and stay upright. My corner entry used to be one of my weakest points. When I arrived, my first year in MotoGP, 250 and 125 period, my braking point was one of my worst. So now I've made it one of my best and being able to trail brake all the way in and get the bike turned in the middle. I've worked on a lot of things that I knew I needed to get my weak points stronger. I think the best thing you can be as a rider is admitting where you're weaker and working on those areas rather than just blaming other things and blaming your equipment.

What are you working on now?

That's for me to know. That's something race by race, weekend by weekend you work on whatever area you're struggling through the most or what you need to work on. Corner by corner it's different on every track, so you need to work on those areas. Braking was one of my biggest weakness, but it was a big weakness compared to the rest of my riding. So really concentrated on that, getting the right set-up, getting a better feel for it and it became one of my strongest. I haven't really got a big weak point now, not like I was with braking, so now I can just sort of work on all of them to try and balance it out as much as I can.

Phillip Island is your favourite track.

It's very similar to Mugello, really, and Brno. It's fast, flowing. I don't really like turn one because of all the bumps on the inside, but the rest of the track's quite smooth, but it flows and it's got uphill, downhill. There's that many different things to it. And on a MotoGP bike, you can really open that thing up for a long time in a lot of places and that's rare these days. On a 125 it was too boring for me, even on a 250 it was open too long. There was nothing happening. But with a MotoGP bike you can really get that throttle open and wind it out a bit. And that's what's exciting for me. Gets the adrenaline pumping a bit more. There's a few corners there that you're able to slide through in some pretty high gears and some pretty high corner speeds. So it's just a lot of fun for me. The way the banking camber, everything goes, it's really a nice to track. It's like a roller coaster. Yeah, you're able to ride these bikes a bit faster.

A number of riders had front tyre problems at Assen and Mugello. One explanation was too much trail braking. Do you find it has an effect on front tyre wear?

It depends on the bike set-up. Depends how much weight's on it. So you'll go into the corner and normally my bike's set up a little bit more so it releases the front a little bit earlier. We've got a bit stiffer springs in, maybe. So I'm able to go into corner a long way and I have to, to be honest, to get the bike to turn, keep that bike weighted and loaded. And if you don't you've got to have a bike that when you release the brake it doesn't want to release so much. So it's still got all that weight on the front but just in a different way. It's something strange. I think Andrea (Dovizioso) had it quite bad on his bike (in Assen) and he pushes the front in very, very hard. Some area I guess he likes to work on a lot. I prefer to stay a little more balanced. But he puts a lot of presser on that front and I guess that sort of buckled as well. Even my tyre during that race, I was coming out, as soon as I cracked the gas and got a little bit of weight off it, the bike was just skipping and moving everywhere. And didn't feel good in general. It's different techniques, different ways you load the tyre and different set-ups that you use to benefit your technique and that's exactly why just about no two riders can use the same set-up, because they have to use different ones because they have a different way of riding.

Andrea (Dovizioso) believed your riding styles were similar, but soon saw everyone was different.

I'll never even try and think that two riders are the same. Every rider I've ever been around has their own technique and their own way to gain speed. So, that's something that I disagree a lot with rider coaches and things like that that are trying to bring speed in a different direction. Each rider has their own potential and should be brought out by themselves and trying to nurture their own speed rather than trying to bring speed out by their way which isn't natural and it's something you got to think about. And if you start going 'What set-up's he got? I want that,' it's not going to work. You've got to basically find your own set-up and that's why we don't look at anybody else's. We'll look at it occasionally when I'm losing in one or two corners and need to know why, but that's the only bit I'll ever look at. I never look at set-up sheets or anything like that, because we know we ride differently to everyone else and everyone else rides differently to each other, so you've got to find your own way.

With such differences among your styles, how does that drive the development of what's going to be the base package for the 1000?

I think it's actually a strong point to have more people testing the bike. I think there's a massive misconception that somebody should develop the bike for them, because sometimes they've got weaknesses they're going to create in that bike and not be able to have it as a good all-around package. So I think the more people that ride it, not necessarily the more people, but the more top riders that give more information about it-maybe one rider's stronger and has got more sensitivity in one area of that bike that they're able to put their input into than another-then I think it all comes together and they do a great job to make a balanced bike and then you can go your own separate ways. But it's mainly just chassis stiffness like that. we can change geometry quite a lot ourselves, but it's chassis stiffness, the way things feel, positions. I think having more data from more different directions is going to be a better way.

Tagged as: Casey Stoner , Repsol Honda

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Stoner, Mugello MotoGP Test 4th July 2011
Stoner, Mugello MotoGP Test 4th July 2011
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July 09, 2011 1:26 PM
Last Edited 2086 days ago

. .this interview felt like a good insight into Caseys attitude on track. He metes out a critical self-analysis on his performances and is quite clearly his own biggest critic! Its actually really interesting to read this as most people seem to think he blames everyone else but himself when things go pear shaped but he comes across as a straight talking, no-bull sh!t, determined individual. An admirable, and understandable attitude for a career in ascension!!

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