Casey Stoner admitted that he felt more at ease riding his Honda RC213V than at any stage so far this season after announcing his intention to retire yesterday. The World Champion was comfortably fastest in both sessions today despite experimenting with different settings on the bike to get to the bottom of the chatter problem that's affected them so far this year.
The Australian is hoping that the dry weather remains for the rest of the weekend so he can continue to work on the issue, although the current forecast suggest his prayers won't be answered.
“The sessions today went quite well for us. Believe it or not, today we were trying to create chatter, so we can make the most use of this dry time on track to understand it a little better and make some improvements for the rest of the season. We are happy to use some of the sessions to focus on fixing the chatter issue, and not worry about the set up immediately. We started to find some chatter at the end of the day when we switched to the hard front tyre and hopefully it will stay dry tomorrow so we can continue to work on this. After yesterday’s announcement, I definitely felt a weight off my shoulders when I got on the bike this morning. The last two races I’ve had a lot of thoughts running through my mind and this weekend I already feel better knowing it’s off my chest and we can now focus on the rest of the season, and try to enjoy it”.
Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa was the nearest challenger to Stoner this afternoon, albeit a quarter of a second adrift, and the Spaniard was pretty pleased with the day's work.
“The feeling was pretty good overall; normally with these cold conditions the track here is very slippery, but the tyres worked well, the grip level is good and we managed two good session practices. We still have some work to do, mainly on the corner entry, but the first impression has been positive so far. It looks like the temperature will drop and some rain is coming, so it’s been useful to have time in the dry to get the feeling at a track like this, where you have a lot of wheelie. I didn’t test the new front Bridgestone tyre today, but I would like to do it tomorrow if it’s dry”.