At the end of the Sepang MotoGP test, Crash.net
asked new Repsol Honda signing Casey Stoner what it was like to ride the RC212V at the Malaysian track compared with the Ducati.
“Very different lines... Extremely different lines,” smiled Stoner, a Ducati rider from 2007-2010 and world champion in his very first season.
“It's still surprising me. Time after time I'm going that wide into the corners that I'm thinking 'I'm not going make this' - then all of sudden I'm running over the white line on the inside.
“It's something I've still got to get used to, figuring out where the best entry point of the corner is, because it is so different to what I'm used to. But I'm slowly getting there and slowly getting more comfortable and [on the last day at Sepang] I made a huge step.
“Physically, I think you know which bike is the hardest. I've done three days here and I've got blisters on my hands, but I feel fine. Physically the bike feels fantastic.
“The softer chassis is a little bit more difficult to change direction, so we'll have to think about that aspect as well, but in general I'm very happy with the way the bike is.”
Stoner, whose 23 race wins for Ducati is more than any other rider during the 800cc era, later added:
“I've got a huge amount more confidence in the front with this bike. Obviously [the Ducati] is not slow, I've won more races than anybody in the last four years. It's just a different way to ride. Worse in some ways, but the Ducati also has characteristics that really work well. A lot of movements and things like this.
“Normally with the Ducati at this track we struggled with a bit of chattering and closing the front on long corners. There's a lot of braking on the edge at this track. But these last three days were really fantastic. I lost the front once when I touched the outside curve [and fell], but other than that I never lost the front and for me that is really
Stoner, who was fastest on day one of the test and left Malaysia third overall, only 0.054sec behind Gresini Honda rider Marco Simoncelli.
The second Sepang MotoGP test takes place from February 22-24.