HRC Press Release: Casey Stoner Concludes Testing At Sugo, Does Not Test Production Racer

Casey Stoner has concluded three days of testing at the Sugo circuit in Japan. The retired champion managed to put in a lot of laps in dry conditions, after previous tests he has participated in have been rained off. Stoner tested both the 2013 and 2014 Honda RC213V, but the Australian ran out of time to do further testing on Honda's RCV1000R production racer. 

HRC issued a press release after the test was completed, which appears below:

Casey Stoner completes productive three day test at Sugo Circuit

HRC test rider and two time World Champion Casey Stoner has completed a gruelling three day test at Sportsland Sugo, Miyagi Prefecture. On this occasion the testing was held in good conditions with rain arriving only after lunch on day three, when the test programme was completed.

The 3.737 km facility played host to the HRC test team as Casey worked on the 2013 and 2014 RC213V prototype machine. He tested various items including a new frame and new engine. However, he did not have time to complete more test time on the Production Racer, instead these duties were left to Takumi Takahsahi.

Casey Stoner

“It’s been quite a good three days and we got a lot of track time considering it gets dark and cold here quite quickly! We had a busy test schedule based on the current 2013 bike and an updated version of the 2014 bike. Both have some very positive aspects and we’re just trying to get a better understanding of them. It was a little tricky to get a true feeling here in Sugo as we had no comparison - with it being the first time we’ve ridden here. All in all it was a good test and the first time we’ve not been interrupted by rain!”


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Had it been a GP track, it would have rained all the time. It would be great if he got a chance to burn some tires for Bridgestone, on the 2014 bike, at Phillip Island.

Beats me why Honda built a production bike. What's wrong with last years bike with stock ECU's and the non seamless gearbox (assuming the seamless gearbox takes so much maintenance to be viable)
Better bike, much cheaper........... works for Yamaha

One I have pondered myself. I think the answer is, funilly enough, that it would be a better bike. It could get too close to the LCR and Gresini sattelite bikes too often and they can't have their budget racer doing that. In the meantime, that's a few more bikes that the Honda factory and satellite bikes are almost certain to beat.

The other point is that there's almost certainly technology in the RC213V that Honda doesn't want purchased by an independent team and out of its control. Honda doesn't want its trade secrets on the open market, so to speak.

Last, I think the Honda powers-that-be realize that the pure prototypes might be legislated out of the series by 2017 and they need to develop the RCV1000R for that eventuallity.

with a lot of your comments Trip13, but I honestly can't see pure prototype racing being over and done with. Ever. And, if I'm honest, it'll be a very sad day if it does.

I'm certainly VERY interested to see exactly what lap times this RCV1000R is capable of. I actually don't think it will be that far off what the full blown bike is capable of. I guess we find out for sure in a week or so's time.

You might be right. But there seems to be a real chance that the pure prototypes will go away.

Ideally, I think we'd all like to see every team run a pure prototype. I think we'd also really like to see the rules opened up and the spec tire go away so we could maybe see some new engineering concepts. I'm not sure it would actually happen since GP racing is mostly evolution and not much revolution. But I'd like to think it could happen.

The problem, of course, is where the money comes from. Currently we have three factories builiding pure prototypes. Honda spends an incredible amount of money. Yamaha also spends, although probably not quite as much. Ducati is a total fluke because Marlboro funds most of its effort, and apparently the budget is nowhere near the other two. And if Ducati doesn't get some results in the next two years, Marlboro will likely pull the plug. As it is, they've only signed on for next year.

So then we'd have two factories building prototypes. That's four full works bikes on the grid with the capability to win. And another four with a faint hope. The rest don't have a prayer.

Suzuki? Not likely to be too competitive at first. And they won't stick around long if the arms race continues at the current pace. They just can't afford it.

Not much of a racing series, is it?

Honestly, the actual racing too often sucks right now. We can predict who will be on the podium nearly every race and, most times, P4-P6 aren't very close. That's not good for Dorna's business. Sponsors don't like it. TV networks don't like it.

Seems like Dorna thinks the only way to get the costs under control is to get rid of the pure prototypes. And by 2017 they might have the juice to do it. The money just isn't there for most teams. Getting sponsorship money in the best of times isn't easy. Now it's a nightmare. How likely are new factories to enter? How likely is it that sponsors stick around when they are expected to help to pay for an exteremely expensive excercise with very questonable ROI? Most of them will hardly see their bikes on TV, much less the podium.

And that's the problem. Someone has got to pay for all this. I'm not sure everyone understands how difficult it is to fund this kind of sport today. Just about every marketing dollar spent has an ROI expectation attached. Brands expect measurable results. That's not easy to do with racing sponsorships. I'd be willing to bet Honda and Yamaha can see the end, or at least the distinct possibility and they're making plans now.

And if it does happen, I think we'll get a system not too far off from what we have today. The base machinery will be less expensive, but the factory teams will get more goodies. But hopefully it means we get more manufacturers, a closer field overall, and the potential for the occasional surprise.

In 2014, the only technical difference enforced by the rules will be the software used in the ECU. The factory entries will be free to use their own software, the Open entries will use the spec Dorna software.

Which one of the two is a pure prototype?

It's really a matter of semantics. Or perception. So it depends on who you ask.

One can define a pure prototype as simply a bike built specifically for racing in MotoGP. By that definition, the production racers and all open bikes are prototypes. That's the one I would use.

But for those that are concerned about the bikes being dumbed down, and within the context of this topic, it seems that any degree of standardization, like the software, which has become so critical, excludes it from the "pure" prototype category. And bikes that are derived from platforms not specifically developed for prototype racing, like the ART bike or any of the ex-CRT machines, which are also allowed in the open class, definitely don't fit. By this definition, pure prototypes must be bespoke virtual one-offs and 100% purpose-built for MotoGP.

Then there's the thorny topic of cost reduction. It's understandably difficult to reconcile a cost-conscious machine with a prototype class. Limiting cost is equated with limiting performance and innovation, which seems to be contrary to the sprit of the whole game.

But one could also argue that pure prototypes have never really existed. There have always been agreed-upon formulas and rules and that limit engineering options and common components from third-party suppliers.

It's actually quite interesting to think about.

In my opinion it is a rediculous name "prototype" as you can read here no one realy knows what the meaning of it is. It is a name which came up from people who sit behind a desk and only think of how the name sounds and is it possible to sell it to more people if it sounds so sweet.
To me it is the same as MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 they are hollow words/names for a class that you can not realy point out, as for an example, the 125 class, even today anyone can tell you what kind of class that was.

Hey, thanks for the fun interesting thread! There are SO many dynamics at play here, and if the bigger overview is held this is as big a transition now as the change to 4 strokes perhaps. In that chapter Ducati was the upstart David to the Honda (and lesser extent Yamaha) Goliath. There was the "perfect storm" of the mighty desmo revving Duc motor, the Bridgestone development in tandem with the rear end biased bike, and Casey. Don't forget "and Capirossi, and Bayliss (winning a one-off wildcard)." What a cool chapter!
Aprillia fell away in electronics fueled digital flames. Then Kawi, then KR and Suzuki. A pendelum had swung, and the whole clock dropped off the wall with the 2008-2009 (unprecedented while we had motorbike racing) economic collapse.
Aprillia snares the David card from Ducati in the CRT shuffle as the Goliath paints itself into a corner. And here we are!
Quite a wonderful story. Quite a wonderful season this 2013.
Aprillia was to birth again a pneumatic valve, seamless gearbox, 24L plenty-engined Dorna software benchmark well developed MegaDavid just as Goliath gutted itself with an anorexic formula. But Aprillia loses its star rider and bike guru just as it is cut off at the knees financially. WHAT WILL IT DO NOW?!
More compelling to me right now is the possible of the Tech3 engined, Yamaha frame-swingarmed 24L Goliath beater in the hands of Espargaro and development of Edwards. WHAT IS POSSIBLE?!?!
I for one am TUNING IN.