Dominant Stoner 'not at the limit yet'
|By Toby Moody and Matt Beer||Friday, March 18th 2011, 20:16 GMT|
Dominant Qatar practice pacesetter Casey Stoner says he has not yet approached the limit of the 2011 Honda.
The Australian has been quickest in all three practice sessions at Losail, and every day of winter testing saw a works-spec Honda fastest. But Stoner suspects there could be even more to come from the latest RC212V.
"There's always a bit left but it's where that limit is that you want to find," he said. "I haven't really found the limit with this Honda yet.
"I've not even tucked the front once, I've never pushed it to any kind of limit so I've got no idea where it is yet. Maybe it's still quite a way to go, maybe we're running where it wants to be.
"At the moment I'm just happy running the pace I am and the way I've got the bike set up."
Stoner believes Honda is able to run a very consistent pace, but is wary of rivals pulling out big improvements in qualifying trim.
"We know everything's been going well in practice, but it's a little bit different when everyone goes to pull out a lap," he said.
"We're happy with the bike and the way it's working but we can't seem to get the same grip out of the tyre to really push in the early stages of it. We're more or less doing the same lap times from the start to the end of the tyre. We did a race distance and did a 1m55.3s and on a brand new tyre we only did a 1m55.0s.
"So we're really happy with the way it's working and if we can keep that consistency it will be fantastic. We'll have to see who can put in the lap tomorrow."
He tipped his team-mates Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso, plus Yamaha's Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo, as riders who could challenge him this weekend despite his practice dominance.
"Dani is riding really well. Of course I expect Dani to be there," said Stoner. "Jorge's always very consistent, so if he can run one lap he can run them all at that pace. Andrea's been getting more and more happy with the bike. Ben's been getting quicker and quicker. So you really don't know who's going to be pushing at the front."