By the time the new Honda RC213V lines-up for its first MotoGP race in April's season-opening Qatar round, it will be just under eleventh months since the 1000cc machine was first handed to Casey Stoner.
The future double world champion made his 1000cc debut during a private test at Jerez in mid-May of 2011 and, during Monday's evening's official presentation of the RC213V, the Australian gave a glimpse into its evolution since that time.
After his two-days in May, Stoner next rode the bike alongside team-mate Dani Pedrosa - who made his RC213V debut - during the (one-day) Brno test in mid-August. The pair then rode the bike again at November's two-day Valencia post-race test.
“The first test everything went quite smoothly and as a first shakedown we couldn't have been happier,” recalled Stoner. “The next test at Brno we had the next evolution of tyres from Bridgestone, which created a few problems compared with the other tyres.
“We knew we had to head in a little bit different direction with the chassis to reduce the chatter, which seemed to work better in the third test at Valencia. In general the bike feels comfortable and everything feels like 'home'.”
Asked about riding style relative to the 800s, Stoner replied:
“There's not a huge difference. You have to get used a little bit to the acceleration and power, but you ride them in quite similar way. We already had too much power with the 800. We were already struggling to find traction with that.
“There's going to be a few times in a few corners where you can ride these bikes slightly different, because of the power on tap compared to the 800. But in general I think it'll be very similar.
“If you ride [the 1000] like an 800 then you will need the engine to be nice and smooth, easy to control, but if you ride it one gear higher or change the gearbox you can ride [the 1000] in the torque more and drive out of the corners.
“Thus far the engine feels fantastic, but I think anything will feel great after an 800 for a while, until we really start racing these hard.”