In a very exciting qualifying session for the Grand Prix of Japan, the Repsol Honda Team finished with Dani Pedrosa in second position and Casey Stoner in seventh.
On the weekend of his return to competition, after missing the past three races due to his ankle injury, Casey Stoner saw progression throughout all the sessions but took a wrong direction in the set up of his RC213V in the latter stage of qualifying. Although still not comfortable on the bike, Stoner has been able to lap three tenths under the circuit record (1'45.745) and will try his best starting from seventh on the grid tomorrow.
"In the end I didn't know the lap times of the others and I was just pushing as hard as I could to get a place on the front row of the grid because on my last exit I was eighth. I had many problems with chattering in qualifying and we still don't know why. Everything was OK during the free practices but this afternoon, it was hard to do the lap time. Finally the second place is good enough and I hope we can avoid this chattering in the race tomorrow. The key point will be to choose the correct rear tyre and be consistent for the whole race because the pace will be fast.”
"To be honest I thought we had a shot at the front row today. The first soft tyre we used we achieved a pretty good time and I knew we had something extra in reserve, in both myself and the bike. We thought with the second soft tyre we would improve but unfortunately we went in the wrong direction with the bike and I had no rear grip, so I decided to play it safe and not push too hard. Physically I'm a little sore but not so bad, I'm just struggling to lift the bike out of the right hand corners and it's making setting up the bike more difficult than it should be. My team can see that my lean angles are nowhere near what they usually are. I can't get my foot out of the way, therefore I can't lean the bike over enough or pick it up quickly on the exit of the corner. I'm not sure what to expect tomorrow, I'll try to get another good night's rest and do our best tomorrow.”
Source: Repsol Honda Team