Archive - Interview
February 6th, 2012
In the second of the two interviews which the Repsol Media Service put out with the Repsol Honda MotoGP riders after the test at Sepang, Casey Stoner gets a chance to answer a few questions. Like Pedrosa, Stoner talks about the differences and similarities of riding the new 1000cc MotoGP bikes when compared to the old 800s, as well as the extra weight that has been added to the bikes. But the Australian also talks about the role that fuel consumption is likely to play with the new, larger capacity bikes running the same amount of fuel as the 800s, and he denies that becoming a father will have any effect on his speed.
Below is the press release interview with Stoner, as sent out by Repsol:
"It's crucial that Honda and Repsol work together to get the same performance out of less consumption"
Reigning MotoGP World Champion, Casey Stoner, prepares for his second season in Repsol and Honda colours onboard the 1000cc RC213V
The Repsol Media Service was once again busy at the test in Sepang. Along with providing daily press releases, the press officers for the Spanish oil giant also found time to interview Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner, and issue the interviews in the form of press releases. In the first of the two interviews, Dani Pedrosa talks about his experience at the tests, the physical demands of riding a bigger and much heavier 1000cc bike, the differences between the 1000cc MotoGP machines of 2012 and the 990cc machines of 2006, and his view of up-and-coming Spanish riders like Marc Marquez and Alex Rins.
Below is the text of the press release interview with Dani Pedrosa:
"This season's bikes allow you to brake later and corner more quickly"
After claiming the third fastest time of the Sepang test, Repsol's Dani Pedrosa looks ahead to the start of the season on April 6th in Qatar
The opening preseason test of 2012 took place this week in Malaysia at the scorching Sepang circuit. Dani Pedrosa ended the three day test with the third fastest time overall. With the introduction of 1000cc bikes to the MotoGP World Championship this season, the Repsol rider was carrying out an extensive program in order to develop his Repsol Honda RC213V - the succesor to the 2011 title winning machine.
December 19th, 2011
Casey Stoner Interview: On Riding Fast, Emulating Doohan, Dealing With The Media, And Selective Memory
The switch from Ducati to Honda worked out extraordinarily well for Casey Stoner. The Australian was fast in testing, took victory in his very first race aboard the Honda RC212V at Qatar, and despite a temporary glitch at Jerez, where he was knocked off his bike by Valentino Rossi, the man who had taken his place at Ducati, was leading the championship by the time the MotoGP circus rolled into Assen for the Dutch TT, and would not relinquish it again, going on to secure his second world championship in dominant style, winning 10 races and taking pole 12 times along the way.
We had a chance to interview Stoner at Assen, after he had taken the championship lead from Jorge Lorenzo and just as he appeared to be getting into his stride. During a long and interesting conversation, Stoner covered a lot of ground, discussing subjects as diverse as Bridgestone tires, track memory, options for expanding the grid and the selective memory of race fans. But we started off by trying to winkle Stoner's secret from him, and find out just how the Australian manages to be so fast, right from his very first lap of the track. Here's what he had to say:
The ever-industrious Honda press office has issued yet another press release containing an interview with a rider. Fortunately for race fans, this time it isn't yet another interview with one of the members of the Repsol Honda team, but instead, it is San Carlo Gresini Honda rider Hiroshi Aoyama. Aoyama has had a very tough season in 2011, struggling with a back injury sustained in a crash at Assen and with the aftermath and constant discussion surrounding the Japanese earthquake and the Motegi MotoGP round. In this interview, Aoyama talks about all of this, and more.
Below is the press release interview:
If anyone was in any doubt about the pivotal role that the spec Bridgestone tires play in MotoGP, this year will have made their significance abundantly clear. The stiff tires offer unbelievable levels of grip, but only once up to temperature, feeling vague and distant while still cold. That presents riders with a paradox: to go fast, the tires have to be warm, but to get heat into the Bridgestones - the front especially - you have to push it hard to make it work.
Championship leader Casey Stoner has proven to be a master at handling this dilemma, seemingly achieving astonishing levels of lean angle and getting his Repsol Honda RC212V turned faster than anyone else on the grid. When asked about the method he uses for getting heat into the tires, Stoner has spoken several times about using the throttle to load the front.
To an untrained observer - and even to people who do have the training - this doesn't seem to make sense. After all, use of the throttle makes the front wheel want to lift, doing the polar opposite of loading the front Bridgestone. To understand exactly what Stoner means by "using the throttle to load the front," we turned to the man who knows exactly what the Australian is doing when he rides the bike: Stoner's long-time crew chief Cristian Gabbarini. Gabbarini, who worked with Stoner at Ducati, and joined HRC when the Australian moved to Honda, took time at Brno to answer our questions. Here's what he had to tell us:
2011 Indianapolis MotoGP Pre-Event Press Conference Transcript - Stoner, Hayden, Spies, Pedrosa And Simoncelli Speak
The incredibly industrious and efficient press office at Indianapolis Motor Speedway provided the following transcript of the pre-event press conference held on Thursday afternoon, featuring Casey Stoner, Nicky Hayden, Ben Spies, Dani Pedrosa and Marco Simoncelli:
2011 RED BULL INDIANAPOLIS GP
Casey Stoner, Nicky Hayden, Ben Spies, Dani Pedrosa, Marco Simoncelli
Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011
Q: Ladies and gentlemen, a very warm welcome to the pre-event press conference here for the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix. It's Round 12 of the MotoGP World Championship; still seven rounds to go. In the press conference today, the World Championship leader, Casey Stoner, riding the Repsol Honda. Casey has won six Grand Prixes this season. He has a 32-point lead in the World Championship. He's been on the podium in the last nine Grands Prix, and he's won the last two.
Sitting alongside him to his right is his teammate, Dani Pedrosa. Dani's fifth in the World Championship. He's had two wins this season. He was the winner of the race last year after qualifying in fifth place.
HRC Boss Shuhei Nakamoto Debrief Transcript: On The 1000, Fuel Limits, HRC's Budget, Motegi And Suzuka
The Brno MotoGP test gave journalists the rare opportunity to speak at length with two of the driving figures behind MotoGP. As well as Ducati's Filippo Prezioso (the transcript of which you can read here), we also got the chance to question HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto. Nakamoto fielded questions on a number of subjects, sometimes with a healthy dose of humor. He naturally spoke about Honda's new 1000cc RC213V, and the development direction HRC have pursued, but he also talked about the effect that fuel limits have on bike developments, including the opportunities they offer for developing new technologies.
Nakamoto-san spoke about the effect that the earthquake and tsunami has had on Honda's production and consequent budgets, and the knock-on effect that this will have on the level of support being offered. He revealed that HRC expected to supply 6 bikes for next year, but only 2 factory machines, and he also spoke about the possibility of a switch from Motegi to Suzuka. Though he personally liked Suzuka, the track has not been approved by the FIM and would be unlikely to receive FIM approval for MotoGP.
Shortly after lunchtime at the MotoGP test at Brno, journalists were given an opportunity to talk to Filippo Preziosi, Director General of Ducati Corse and the engineering genius behind Ducati's MotoGP project. Naturally, the question of a traditional twin spar chassis came up, as well as what Ducati was testing on Monday, both questions that Preziosi deflected rather gracefully. But he also talked about the role of the Bridgestone tires in development, and why he would dearly love to be able to race a twin in MotoGP.
A transcript of the press conference follows, and we owe a debt of gratitude to Jensen Beeler of Asphalt & Rubber, who transcribed it for us:
Q:What were you testing?
The test of today was based on understanding what are the main directions for the future, for the mid-term and long-term future. So we tested very different setups in order to check the preferred weight distribution, center of gravity, stuff like that for Vale. For the mid-term. So, in order to give the design people the targets for the new bikes.
Q:When you say mid-term, how far out is that?
Q:Are you testing these changes with the existing components, or are there any new parts on the bike?
Not to be outdone by the Repsol colleagues, the good people at HRC have also been issuing press release interviews. Today, they issued an interview with HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto, who provides an interesting insight into the performance of the Repsol Honda team from the perspective of HRC management. In the interview, Nakamoto talks about how Honda changed Casey Stoner's bike to fix the problems he had been complaining of all weekend at Laguna Seca, allowing him to win the race; about how well Dani Pedrosa has performed despite his injury; and about what Honda expect from the second half of the season. What is also interesting in the interview is how little time Nakamoto spends talking about Andrea Dovizioso, and when he does, he has some firm criticism of the Italian.
Here is what Nakamoto had to say to the HRC press office:
Round 10 - Interview with Shuhei Nakamoto
Round 10. 7 wins out of 10. The second half will be the decider.
After consecutive days of press release interviews with Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner, it should come as no surprise that today the Repsol Media Service issued a third interview with their third rider, Andrea Dovizioso. In the interview, Dovizioso speaks about his season so far, and what he is doing in the break ahead of Brno. Below is the press release:
"I have never been so strong in all races as this year"
The Repsol rider, firmly in third position of the overall standings, is optimist for the second half of the season
In his third season at the Repsol Honda Team, Andrea Dovizioso reaches the summer break firmly placed in third position of the World Championship, after getting four podiums and gathering points in all races. Always among the fastest of the category, the Italian rider is showing a great consistency that keeps him in the first places of the premiere category of the Motorcycling World Championship.
What are your plans for these free days?
"Family holidays, five days in Sardinia, resting at the beach with my family and my friends to relax and gather energy for Brno".
Are you satisfied with your third overall position?
After yesterday's interview with Dani Pedrosa, today, the Repsol Media Service issued a press release containing an interview with MotoGP championship leader Casey Stoner. In it, the Australian talks about his season so far, his neck injury and what it takes to win a championship. Here's the press release:
"Consistency does not win titles, you need to win races"
The Australian rider of the Repsol Honda Team leads the overall standings with an advantage of 20 points after the halfway point of the 2011 season
Leader of the MotoGP World Championship with five victories in ten races, Casey Stoner has started his first season at the Repsol Honda Team taking the initiative in his tough battle with Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo. The victory in his first Grand Prix with the Spanish energy company livery was the best sign of the Australian rider's hunger for victory, and he will arrive to the Czech Republic with an advantage of 20 points at the top of the MotoGP World Championship.
Five victories and four more podiums in 10 races. It does not sound bad at all for a first half of the season, does it?
The Repsol Media Service continue to bombard the press with press-release interviews with their riders. This time, Repsol spoke to Dani Pedrosa about how his season has gone so far, and how he is recovering from injury.
Below is the press release interview with Pedrosa:
"I want to be on top form to be able to confront my rivals"
The Repsol rider takes advantage of the summer break to recover physically and confront the last eight Grand Prix of the season in the best form
The Le Mans crash, which prevented him to take points in four races, did not reduce Dani Pedrosa's confidence, and he came back to the championship more eager than ever. The Repsol Honda Team rider already has two victories and three podium —two of them consecutive in the last two races—, with still half of the season to be held. Pedrosa is confident to achieve a good form, before the next round in Brno, in order to increase the number of wins to his name.
Laguna Seca is always the halfway point of the season and the start of the short summer break. Will you be able to switch off? What are your plans?
One of the more interesting side entertainments at last weekend's Laguna Seca MotoGP round was the return of King Kenny Roberts, who did a couple of demonstration laps on both his 1980 YZR500 and on a specially prepared Yamaha YZF-M1 MotoGP bike. After the ride, he spoke to a small group of (mainly Italian) journalists about the experience of riding the two bikes, and the comparison between the two. Fortunately, the select group of journalists included Jensen Beeler, editor of the excellent motorcycle website Asphalt & Rubber, and Jensen was gracious enough to share the audio of Kenny Roberts talking about the bikes with MotoMatters.com.
Roberts' comments offer a fascinating insight into the difference between the bikes from 30 years ago and the bikes of today, and the difficulties that each bike presents. Back in the late seventies and early eighties, Roberts suggested, you could compensate for a failure in bike setup by over-riding the bike, pushing it to do things it didn't want to do and sliding the bike to compensate. Modern MotoGP machines - exacerbated by electronics and the Bridgestone tires - will go about as fast as physics allowed. The old 500cc two strokes would allow room for creativity, but the modern bikes reward only one thing: complete precision. Where previously, running wide at a corner could be compensated, now, the difference between success and failure is hitting your lines to within a few centimeters. Over-riding a modern MotoGP machine will get you precisely nowhere, and is likely to either make you radically slower or leave you rolling through the gravel traps.
Back in the spring of 2010, I was asked by Chris Jonnum, editor of the late and very much lamented motorcycle racing monthly Road Racer X to do a story on the bikes that won the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca throughout the years. The story meant I got to talk to a lot of people about a single subject, and turned up some fascinating material. One of the most interesting interviews I did was with Valentino Rossi's veteran crew chief, Jeremy Burgess about the race that Rossi won at Laguna Seca in 2008, when he beat Casey Stoner in one of the most thrilling races of recent history.
Burgess spoke to me prior to the 2010 French MotoGP round at Le Mans, while Rossi and Burgess were still with the factory Yamaha team, and talked about their strategy in taking on and beating Casey Stoner and the Ducati, what it takes to win at Laguna Seca, and the difference between Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa. Here's the interview:
MotoMatters: How did the victory at Laguna Seca in 2008 come about?
Jeremy Burgess: I'd have to say it was a pivotal point in the championship to make a statement with Casey. The bike certainly wasn't faster than Casey's bike, but with Laguna being such a unique track, where the straight has a corner on it, a long corner. So it was more of a tactical race than a bike performance race. It was a case of making sure that we were in front of Casey.
The Honda PR machine continues to work overtime, producing yet another interview, this time with MotoGP championship leader Casey Stoner. Once again, they have excelled themselves, producing a frank and interesting interview that does not sound like it has been through the corporate sanitization process that so many team press releases seem to generate. In it, Stoner talks about the development of the 1000cc 2012 Honda MotoGP machine, how the 1000s might change the racing next year, and how he works with his pit crew to find a setup. An interesting read.
Below is the Honda press release:
CASEY STONER INTERVIEW
Casey Stoner is the most successful rider of the 800cc era. Since the 800cc motors were introduced at Qatar in 2007, where Stoner celebrated his first premier class victory, through last weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, Stoner had won 27 races. The majority came in 2007, when he collected ten race victories en route to the 2007 MotoGP World Championship.
With a brilliant start to this season, the 25-year-old Australian has continued to add to his tally. Through the first eight races Stoner has four wins, a second, and two thirds. The only time he's failed to finish on the podium was at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez when he was knocked out of second place early in the race.