Casey Stoner: Jury still out on my V8 career chances
Former MotoGP star Casey Stoner says it’s still too early to tell whether he can enjoy a successful second career in V8 Supercars, despite putting in an impressively measured performance in Race 2 of the opening Dunlop Series round in Adelaide.
After continual front tyre lock-ups saw Stoner crash out of his maiden Dunlop Series race on Friday evening, the Red Bull-Pirtek Holden driver methodically picked his way through the field in the Saturday encounter, moving from 30th on the grid to 14th by the flag.
“I wouldn’t have a clue yet,” replied Stoner when asked whether he now feels confident of forging a touring car career.
“I’ve only finished one race, unfortunately; it could have been two by now.
“We couldn’t really get the car working all weekend and yesterday wasn’t really any better. Today the car was definitely a bit better and I felt more comfortable with it.
“Hopefully with a bit of time it’ll slowly start to come, but I just want to have a bit of fun, go and race some guys and see what happens at the end of the year.
“Everybody was giving me as hard a time as I was them – I felt like part of the class,” he continued.
“We made things tough for ourselves starting so far back but our pace was pretty good. It could have been a little bit better and it would have been nice to see what we could do without the oil there.
“We’ve had that much experience this weekend of what goes wrong, flat-spotting tyres, driving over oil patches, first time on kerbs… just getting a feel for all sorts of things.
“There’s a lot to cram in and now I’m starting to feel a little bit more comfortable.”
When questioned on the somewhat surprisingly composed passing manoeuvres he pulled off in just his second ever car race, Stoner pointed to the similarities between four and two-wheeled race craft.
“It’s not my first rodeo; I know how to overtake,” he said.
“In MotoGP it’s almost more critical in that way. It may look like we’ve got more room on a bike but it really isn’t easy to overtake. It’s very hard to get the limit of the brakes, and our racing line and grip levels are very narrow so going off those is more risky.
“With a car, in a lot of ways, it’s similar sort of race craft so I felt pretty comfortable.”
Although there is a two month break before the second round of the season in Perth, Stoner says he’s only likely to complete one more test day in that time, and is not setting clear goals for the Barbagallo event.
“No real goals to be honest, (we’ll just) try and better the position we ended up with today,” he said.
“We’ll just try and work our way up and gain more experience. It’s a totally different sort of circuit in Perth compared to here.
“We’ll gain as much as we can. Everything that we did wrong here we’ll try and make sure we don’t do in Perth, but you can’t always be sure of that.
“We’ll just get as much input as we can to making the car a little bit more comfortable.”
The next round of the Dunlop Series will be held at Barbagallo Raceway on May 3-5.