Retired former MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner
participated in the third scheduled test with the Honda MotoGP development team
at Japan’s Twin Ring Motegi
circuit, and despite poor weather cutting the two-day test short, was able to turn laps on both the 2013 RC213V as well as the Production Racer
racebike that will be offered for sale to teams in MotoGP
next year. The first day of the test was a complete washout due to rain, but the second day was dry for most of the day, and Stoner was able to able to ride the RC213V
in the morning and run his first laps on the Production Racer in the afternoon.
Stoner was reportedly impressed with the Production Racer, which uses regular steel valve springs as opposed to the pneumatic valve springs (and a standard transmission instead of the hyper-expensive seamless-shift gearbox
) in the works RC213V racebike, as well as other manufacturing methods to bring costs down to a stated €1 million ($1.4 million) for private teams in MotoGP. "Unfortunately the weather played a big role in this test, which was a little frustrating not to be able to share the workload over the two days. We tried to do everything today but it was a little difficult, and we also had the threat of rain again. We started with the current RCV, trying to find a base setting and then work from there. We had two variations of chassis' to try and some big modifications and improvements in my opinion. We also tried the production bike, which was more impressive than I predicted. It had a similar feeling to the RCV but with a little less power and a different feeling in engine braking. With some small modifications I believe this bike will be competitive and I look forward to the next test with it.”
Honda reportedly only has two teams (the Gresini team will run one bike in addition to its customer RC213V, and Karel Abraham's Cardion team will run one) currently slated to run the Producation Racer next year—Honda reps have stated that it will provide only enough Production Racers for five MotoGP teams—while most of the other private teams are either running the Yamaha M1 engine option or the upgraded Aprilia CRT machine. In what could be considered a keen marketing ploy, if Stoner is shown to turn very competitive lap times on the Production Racer, that would surely convince more teams to look at Honda’s option.