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GP Week : Issue 117
14 FRENCH GP winner Casey Stoner has emerged feeling “very positive” after his first laps on the prototype of next year’s full-1000cc Honda, after two days of testing at the Spanish GP circuit of Jerez. “It’s just nice to be riding a 1000 again, to be honest,” he said. “ To feel the engine, feel the power again. When you’re in a high gear, normally the 800 runs out of a little bit of power. This one is still pushing and spinning.” In other respects, the bike and its feeling were similar to the current machine, with better stability under braking, he said. The bike built to 1000cc regulations for next year was out for the first two of eight permitted test days with GP riders. With team- mate Pedrosa out of action, Stoner’s planned one day was extended to two, after the first was so promising. Former Honda 500 GP racer Shinichi Ito, now a factory tester, also tested on both days. One surprise, however, was that third Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso was not included in the test programme, in place of the unexpectedly absent Pedrosa. The Italian made light of the omission, but it shows he is still the poor relation in the three-man team. The bike, in full Repsol colours, closely resembles the 800 V4, finally ruling out any faint hopes that Honda might revive its successful and exclusive V5 configuration, used when the formula stood at 990cc from 2002 to 2006. HRC vice-president Shuhei Nakamoto was at the tests, and confident with progress: “I’m not saying everything is okay, but the direction is okay,” he said. Stoner’s ‘thumbs-up’ for 2013 Honda Dovizioso passed over in special test