Repsol Press Release: Interview With Casey Stoner

After Repsol issued interviews with Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso, it was inevitable that a third interview would come along with Casey Stoner. The Australian was fastest on the first day of the Sepang test, further confirming his fast adaptation to the Honda RC212V. In the interview, Stoner talks about the differences between the Honda and the Ducati, and how his approach to riding is changing as a result, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the Honda. Below is the full text of the interview, issued as a press release by the Repsol Media Service:


"The Honda surprises me on every lap, again and again"

The new Repsol rider proved again his talent to go fast on any bike and analyses in detail his impression after the Sepang test

Casey Stoner achieved this week some superb results in the first official MotoGP tests in Malaysia. The Australian, who got on the Honda RC212V for the second time –after his debut last November in Valencia-, closed his three days in Sepang signing one of the three best times of the class.

How did these three days go Casey?

"In general we were able to take some good steps ahead. We tried many things, alternating between the two chassis, one more rigid and the other more flexible. We tried to find out which one gave the best sensations. We still haven't made big changes on the set-up, which is really positive. We only tested some different things more to confirm they work, than to really evaluate them. In the end we were able to make the bike work much better on used tyres and with a different traction control, that brakes a little faster when they start to spin, which helped us improve our corner speed".

What do you think about the two chassis versions you tried?

"For now I prefer the stiff one, the one I tried in Valencia. But there are also some very good things in the flexible one. In fact, I set my best time with it, although it was because I crashed with the rigid one and I could not use it a lot. The stiff chassis seems to find more grip when you lift the bike, but the other allows you to use all the tyre surface better. There are some things we need to understand fully in the next tests, but we already have an idea and what we want to do is to confirm it".

How is it to ride the Honda compared with the Ducati?

"The two bikes require to set totally different lines. The Honda surprises me in each lap, again and again. When I enter a corner too wide, I don't know how I am going to take it and suddenly I find myself in the inside white line, which is a great difference and something I still have to get used to see which is the best point to enter the corner. It is very different from what I was accustomed to. We are getting closer step by step; today we took a good step forward and I started to feel more comfortable."

Which is more demanding, specially in a complete race?

"Physically, I think it is easy to know the answer. We trained a lot this three days and my hands are full of blisters, but I feel well. I had a little trouble to sleep on Tuesday and on Wednesday I was a bit tired, but on Thursday I felt better than the day before. Physically I feel fantastic on the bike. Maybe with the more flexible chassis it is a little more difficult in the changes of direction, and we will have to bear it in mind. But overall, I am very happy with this bike".

Andrea Dovizioso talked about some chattering problems with the clutch. Does it also happen to you? Is it something very serious?

"Yes, it is one of the most important things we noticed when we arrived here. We dedicated the two first days nearly exclusively to work on the clutch, trying to reduce the chattering. We took a step ahead on it and we have been trying to fine-tune it in the last day. It works a little better, but we should improve it even more."

Do you think the set-up work would be enough or the engineers should change something?

"They have been working on many different areas of the set-up and they have come up with solutions since the last test, but I think we can improve a little more before the next test session. We are able to improve the situation a little with the configuration and the electronics, but we cannot really solve the problem. So I think that is something that should be done externally and the engineers are the ones who would have to find something."

Which is your main problem with the chattering?

"Basically, it is that when you enter a corner, when you let go of the clutch to downshift, the bike does not go uniformly, but rebounds and that makes the whole bike move when entering the corner. That prevents you from bending more and brake harder, because it still chatters and the contact with the tarmac is not perfect. Moreover, if the bike does not follow the track perfectly, the engine brake and the torque do not help the braking. Everything has an effect, one way or the other, so at some point, the engine brake interferes too much and blocks the back wheel. Then is when you see an Honda rider entering with the bike crossed or doing a wheelie. To achieve a perfect braking performance, you need it to be perfect to avoid the blocking of the wheel and the chattering and it is very difficult to fine-tune it".

We have seen three different Honda riders lead the classification in each day. ¿What do you think about this situation?

"Right now I am focused on myself. Naturally, at the end of each day we used a soft tyre to try and set the fastest register, but we have been more focused on other areas in which we are trying to get the perfect feeling with the bike. Every time is different and I did not enough laps to feel comfortable with everything, because we had so many things to try. But the last day I was able to feel more at home and we took a great step ahead. The times arrived very easily and everything went much better."

Have you more confidence with this bike's front than with the one you had last year?

"Yes, a lot more. The Honda simply requires a different rider style than the Ducati. It is clear that it is not a slow bike and I won more races than anyone in the last four years, but it is just different. For instance, we had many problems with the Ducati's suspensions, especially in this track. The drive would also close a lot on long corners, because there are many braking points and we suffered a bit. By contrast, these three days have been really fantastic. On Thursday I had a crash because I lost grip on the front wheel, but it was a one-time thing and it did not happen again. It is very different from the past."

Have you come across with the Yamaha riders on track and can you compare them with the Honda riders?

"I did not meet anyone on track. I saw a test rider, but I have not been close enough to anyone to have an idea of how they went. We will have to wait until the races start because I don't want to follow any rider and the majority of them do not want to follow anyone either. It is difficult to find someone on track when you are testing and have an idea of how the other bike goes, especially when you are trying things, because you don't know if he feels comfortable with what he is trying or not. You cannot reach any conclusions."

Have you tested the tyres?

"Yes, although there was no significant improvement in its performance, - it was not the aim of these tests-, just a few changes. I prefer the standard compound we had up to now. The harder compound seems a little more predictable. they are trying to gather all data and we will try something more in the next tests."

Did you tried the suspensions?

"No, we didn't touch the set-ups at all, because for us it was better to concentrate in what we have done. In the next test we might improve the way to ride the bike and then we will test the suspensions".

How did you found the Honda RC212V? Was it what you expected? 

"It was strange. In the first test in Valencia I expected some things to go better than how they actually went and other things to go much worse. I expected to have many difficulties with the brakes, but in fact the feeling was really good. I thought acceleration to be incredibly powerful from low-revs, but I found that the engine was mild and sweet. There were other things I didn't expect also. I am really happy with what I found, and in fact it was a bit better than what I thought. I am pleased with the package."

Before you, there was another Australian, Mick Doohan, who wore the Repsol Honda Team colours. How did you feel the first time you saw yourself in the mirror on Repsol livery?

"When Mick [Doohan] used Repsol livery it was a little different, but for me, being with this team means everything. It is the HRC official team and it is Repsol. It is a great team and to be here with two more riders is amazing. It is curious than when Mick was here there were three riders and now I arrive here and the situation repeats itself. I am very excited about this season and also about following in the steps of Mick Doohan; this is a huge privilege for me." 

2011

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Comments

Thanks Dave loving the interviews.

Tough year this for Casey, when you're easily the best rider in the team I suspect everything goes your way. But as of the last test there are 3 other guys around the same speed on the same bike.
All will struggle to differentiate themselves..
I have a sneaky suspiscion that Dani will lead the way for Honda this year, he was unstoppable last season until his bike hit the brakes. But time will tell.

Total votes: 57

that I won't be mentioning him here.

Go Casey!!! It is going to be a very good year for racing.

More hard-arsed Doohan-esque riding and winning will be very enjoyable.

(Though a few more bikes on grid would be great thanks Carmelo..)

Total votes: 74

Has this been translated from English to Spanish then back again?
I find some of his technical explanations totally baffling.

"Basically, it is that when you enter a corner, when you let go of the clutch to downshift, the bike does not go uniformly, but rebounds and that makes the whole bike move when entering the corner. That prevents you from bending more and brake harder, because it still chatters and the contact with the tarmac is not perfect."

"so at some point, the engine brake interferes too much and blocks the back wheel."

"To achieve a perfect braking performance, you need it to be perfect to avoid the blocking of the wheel and the chattering and it is very difficult to fine-tune it".

"For instance, we had many problems with the Ducati's suspensions, especially in this track. The drive would also close a lot on long corners, because there are many braking points and we suffered a bit."

If this is straight from the horses mouth, it's no wonder Rossis feedback is perceived as a breath of fresh air by Preziozi.

Total votes: 73

This is Casey Stoner speaking English to a Spanish press officer from Repsol, and the Spanish press officer transcribing the English and shortening it. The interview will also be translated into Spanish. Repsol's press officers both speak outstanding English, but as you can tell, not perfect.

Total votes: 66

@wosideg "If this is straight from the horses mouth, it's no wonder Rossis feedback is perceived as a breath of fresh air by Preziozi."

It is true that both italian(Ex:Rossi) and japanese(Ex:Furusawa) speak a perfect english ....................;)

Total votes: 64

Of course he doesn't. He's Australian.
The most articulate of us shorten everything language wise, and Casey dropped out of school at about 14....

Total votes: 60

My previous comment was ironic,just go watch the interview Furusawa/Rossi and you'll have the answser about how good are their english...

Total votes: 71

I suspected as much, and I take back my snipe at Stoner before I get lambasted!..well, half take it back.

Total votes: 74

Yeah, great comment. Stoner 3rd Honda with the smallest improvement of anyone from day 1-3..I think we all know who is the more accomplished development rider.

Total votes: 78

to Ducati was pretty clear in recent times. That he was able to get some good results speaks volumes for his talent.
Ducati finally listening to comments of vague front and inflexible lucky-dip chassis characteristics from Vale & JB, shows how muddled and pig-headed they have been.
Bring on the racing!

Total votes: 71

It's been apparent for years - especially on the motoGp.com site - that just about everything that is given as a quote is translated from the speaker's native tongue into Spanish and then back again to whatever the output language happens to be - and the second translator is at least sometimes someone who is using a Spanish-XXX dictionary and knows sod-all about motorcycle racing. That's why ALL riders come across sounding much the same and using strange phraseology that doesn't ring true to the ear of any native speaker of the 'final' output. I can remember Rossi being quoted as calling Michelin a 'tyre fabricant', for instance.

You only have to look at the first para. of this piece to see it isn't straight 'English' by an English-native speaker - the words: 'closed his three days in Sepang signing one of the three best times of the class' would normally be written as: 'finished his three days in Sepang posting one of the three best times in the class'. QED.

Stoner is probably no more 'misquoted' than any other rider but an Aussie accent and use of some vernacular terms is always likely to be less familiar than for any other rider simply because there's only one Aussie now for the PR guys to get used to. However, if you read for instance a Superbike Planet direct interview with say Hayden and then read anything coming out of motoGp.com the language is quite different. Same for Edwards and Spies.

Stoner actually speaks rather clearly and with quite good diction and relatively few 'ahh', 'errs' and 'umms', indicating that he thinks his words through fairly well before starting to say them, but as David has pointed out a number of times, he will quite often provide an inflection of humour or irony to a comment that gets totally lost 'in translation' and then people, not knowing that he was say being self-deprecating, take the written word as gospel transliteration and jump down his throat.

Total votes: 54

@wosideg

Yeah, Rossi was 11th. Great feedback, great development rider or better said copycat.

Yamaha is not similar to Ducati, like Honda is to Yamaha (chasis, 2004 season), so Rossi and Burgess are having problem to copy the setup like they did in 2004.

If this is straight from the other horses mouth (Valentino Rossi) “For sure I'm very far from 100 percent, but I can ride the bike.”, he'll never be ready, he's just moaning, like he always do. Always has an excuse for all...

Lorenzo kicked him from Yamaha, and that has never happened to any rider of his caliber...he's finished...

If Stoner doesn't beat him, he will be beaten by Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Spies, Simoncelli...one way or the other...he's finished...

Total votes: 61

you're making my head bang!..and I resemble that remark about MCN where you can meet a thoroughly decent and informed poster.

Don't take me too seriously, or yourself for that matter, I'm just trying to inject a bit of healthy debate..I'm a Brit and Caseys Aus. it's only natural for me to have a little pop now and then.

As for Rossi..well I seem to remember a certain crowd writing him off before and in the immortal words of Mr. Stoner himself after LS08..we'll see

Total votes: 59

and don't sshhhush me. There's no need for that.

You're Rossi fan, that's ok, but be a realistc one. That's so rare nowdays and they are an endangered species.

LS08 or not, Rossi is not immortal, he's older every year and the competition is getting hungrier...Like I wrote, if Stoner doesn't beat him somebody else will...

Like Stoner said "but the list of hopefuls this year is very long. Dani is always there, Andrea has improved a lot, you also have to say Simoncelli after the times he set in Sepang. There is Spies, of course Valentino, so there are lots of riders with hopes, we have to wait for the first race to have a clear idea where each of us stand.”

Cheers.

Total votes: 67

I won't sshhhush you again, as long as you don't shout at me.

I am a fan of Rossi and have big respect for all the others, barring Casey. Only joking..before you start again, as Rumerz would say, I'm a "Fanman".

There comes a time, as we get older, when it starts to dawn that we're not as young as before. We don't bounce as well and when we do it takes a little longer to get up and aches more and for days afterwards. Top sportsmen can find it difficult to realise and accept this fact, boxers being the obvious example.
At just 32 and IF he can stay injury free, I don't think Rossi is quite at that point yet, although his shoulder must be a worry. But you're right..that time WILL come and when it does, I've a feeling he will be the first to know as he is a very bright individual.

I've been watching this game since Barry Sheene and IMO this year has the potential to be one of the best, the field is so strong and everybody seems to have something to prove, including the manufacturers. My hope is that they all remain healthy so as fans, we can see the fight go down the line and have something to talk about for years to come.

Total votes: 66

I didn't mean to shout. I'm sorry if I offended u in any way.

Personally, I'm not so tied to the driver as much as I cheer for the manufacturer. Honda is my choice. I've been watching since 1995...

"this year has the potential to be one of the best, the field is so strong and everybody seems to have something to prove, including the manufacturers. My hope is that they all remain healthy so as fans, we can see the fight go down the line and have something to talk about for years to come." Beautifully written and I totally agree with u in every word.

Total votes: 62

Get your big stirring stick out of the pot!

I think we'd all agree with your final paragraph. I for one have been uttering these words at this point of the year just about every year for the last decade. However there's always some smart arse rider who comes along and destroys that prophecy through sheer talent and bravery. At least another one or two that ruin the season by banging themselves up, and a few that just don't live up to their pre season hype and billing.

Still I'm predicting 2011 to be the best season yet!

Total votes: 56

Just a bit of harmless banter Nostro..you kow, to keep the pro-Stoner lads on their toes as we head into the new season and there are plenty here at MM.
As you've said before now, this is a defining season for Casey..I hope he steps up to the plate, and stays upright, for his first serious title challenge since 2007.
If he does, I'll be the first to eat your Jacaru.

Cheers.

Total votes: 66

It's such a shame that the best years are usually the last of the format. This appears obvious to all but the the people who run the sport.

Total votes: 66

I hear what you're saying Hugelean but the small grids, non factory competition and costs really do need addressing..not to mention the passport issue. The MSMA have been dealt all the favourable cards yet have played a shocking hand, their vice-like grip needs weakening.

I remember when when we went 4T.."bloody stinkwheels" this, "Chuffing deisels" that..yet look at that period from 2003-6 we had some spectacular action, sometimes it was more reminiscent of the start line at Santa Pod than a GP race and we were all happy? although sadly with the factories insisting on what is a fuel economy experiment with 21l and their precious electronics, it seems we won't see a return of the old snorting beasts melting tarmac.

Change for for changes sake is just meddlesome but I think there are genuine misgivings about the 800s. Lets hope the GPC can nail down a fair set of rules that encourage CRT because they'll have a chance of being competitive..Just don't ask me to hold my breath!

Total votes: 69

Generally,Nostro,I see it the same way.Then along comes 2012 to mess it all up in such a way that not even the GPC can plan nor predict. Another 2 years to sort that mess out and maybe 2014 could be a great season.Really,anyone thinking the CRT/800/1000 will be 990 revisited is living in the past...No regression in electronics. Get over it.
Back to the Stoner interview,thanks David,for the whole thing as ever in its entirety. Too often,we get an abbreviated 'punchline/headline' that revs the story up.
My take is that Casey would do well to have another 2 solid tests prior to the Quatar race. Should he win the first race it will be very hard on the rest to stay with him all season long. Should he fail to win Quatar 2011,best season yet !!!
Somehow,I believe,Ben is the racer they all fear most,based on Valencia/ Sepang 1 testing and last season. Well, maybe they don't, but I, were I in that mix, certainly would.

Total votes: 66

I take it that you advocate 21litres and all the rider aids?.. how do you think they impact positively on the show?

Total votes: 76

I keep none. Slavery was removed from the British statute book just last year, so me old mate Rolf had to let his Abo's go loose Lew. Your man might just have a hard time tying me Kangaroo down though sport!

Total votes: 62

Good man..
He may indeed..and it sure is going to be interesting to see if the old bugger can win on three different marque.

Can't remember who, but someone said from the Sepang pitlane..Rossi looked to have the fire back in his eyes..

Total votes: 60

If this is going to be a preview to what's to come for the season. I cannot wait for the racing and the comments that go with it. Some of you guys are hilarious. I think everyone is just ready for the season! If it does not start soon there may be a mutiny posted. LOL! Keep all the info and post going, this is just what I needed today!

Total votes: 60