News 11 Nov 2009

MotoGP: Honda riders take step-by-step approach to 2010


When the MotoGP riders arrived at the track for the second day of the planned three-day test they were pleased to find track and weather conditions were much improved on yesterdays cool and blustery experience at the 4.005 km grand prix venue. The warmer track top temperatures was reflected by the lap times with all six Honda RC212V riders improving their pace, albeit to varying degrees.

The Repsol Honda factory team riders, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso, put in a day of step by step evaluation of the 2010 RC212V both men content with the progress made. Pedrosa concentrated on basic machine set up and working with the Ohlins suspension he is testing for the first time in combination with Bridgestone tyres. The young Spaniard did not chase fast lap times preferring to establish a good feeling with the new machine.

Dovizioso was up to pace quickly and set his fastest time of the day on his eighth lap using soft compound Bridgestone tyres. When he went out on the harder compound rubber the Italian was high-sided from the RCV injuring his left hip. Despite a small fracture Dovi continued testing ending the day satisfied overall with the efforts he and the team put in today. He was particularly pleased with the improved machine stability under braking, one of the difficulties he had wrestled with during the 2009 campaign.

San Carlo Gresini Honda new boys Marco Melandri and Marco Simoncelli both announced themselves satisfied with the progress made. Melandri spent the majority of his day improving traction and general feedback from the Bridgestone tyres.
Simoncelli grew in confidence as the day wore on making it easier for him to master the 800cc four-stroke. The young Italian was riding with Bridgestone tyres for the first time and his burgeoning confidence was obvious from his body language and his improved his lap times.

LCR Honda teamster Randy De Puniet continued working with the Ohlins suspension today in combination with the latest development tyres from Bridgestone. The Frenchman was satisfied with the test results and decided against testing tomorrow. De Puniet was also confident that the team technicians had gleaned sufficient data from the two days of testing that will benefit them when they test the 2010 version of RC212V for the first time at Sepang, Malaysia, in February next year.

Hiro Aoyama (Interwetten Honda) put in a marathon stint today the 2009 250cc World Champion completing 88-laps of the tortuous Valencia circuit. With no previous MotoGP experience, and little time aboard a four-stroke race machine Aoyama is aware that he has a long hard task ahead of him if he is to e ready for the start of the 2010 season. Laps, laps and more laps is the only way to learn and he has learned a lot during today’s session and slashed 2.5s off his best lap time of yesterday!

The three-day test ends tomorrow with the teams reconvening at Sepang in February for the first test session of 2010.

Rider quotes and lap times:
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 6th – 1m 33.025s, 46 laps.
“We completed a useful day’s testing today, and although I didn’t do a huge number of laps, we covered quite a lot of ground. Some of the adjustments we were making with the machine and suspension were quite big to allow us to fully understand the new chassis, and with these kind of changes you inevitably spend quite a lot of time in the pits. Also, we weren’t going after ultimate lap times – just continuing to get familiar with the new parts and understand how settings changes affect the performance. That’s normal, and now is the time to do this work, step-by-step. Tomorrow we’ll come back here for the final session of the season.”

Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 12th – 1m 33.546s, 44 laps.
“This morning we started well. I went out with a soft tyre that I used from the day before and I did my best lap really early on – on lap eight – and I had a good feeling out there. The track conditions and temperature were better than yesterday and allowed us to get through some useful work. When we changed from soft to hard tyres, I was trying to bring them up to temperature by sliding a little bit when I high-sided without warning. I’ve injured my hip a little and it’s painful – but I carried on riding and fortunately the pain is not so bad when I’m on the bike. Overall though, I was much more satisfied today – especially with the braking stability – and we’ll continue testing a few more things tomorrow, focusing on the chassis.”

Marco Melandri, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 10th – 1m 33.326s, 85 laps.
“I’m satisfied of today’s work even if we are still not so fast on the single lap time. For me this is a complete new machine to the one I used in 2007 and it is important to understand it. Today I could improve my pace and I did my best lap time with a tyre that had many laps, this makes me confident. Today we tested some solutions to improve the traction and the feeling with the tyres. We are working in the right direction. Tomorrow we have in mind some solutions also to use better the soft tyre as today I used one but I kind of spoiled it because at that moment I didn’t have the best set up.”

Marco Simoncelli, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 14th – 1m 34.230s, 79 laps.
“Today the confidence with the bike improved as yesterday everything was new for me and I was riding more carefully. For sure we have a lot of work to do ahead us but today I could lap faster and things came easier. Yesterday I struggled to feel the front while today I had more confidence thanks to the set up modifications and my improved confidence in the tyres. Today I also tried a start without the launch control and my feeling that it was a good start, my feeling was good, I don’t know from outside.”

Randy de Puniet, LCR Honda: 7th – 1m 33.111s, 76 laps.
“Yesterday we have tried to understand what happened on Sunday’s race when I struggled with rear grip issues and today we have found a good solution to that problem. We worked on Öhlins suspension new link and on the chassis geometry to make the bike more stable in the corners. I am pretty satisfied about the things we have fixed in the last two days as those data will be helpful for the 2010 machine which we are going to test in February. In two weeks time I will remove the screws from my left ankle and will keep on training to be in a good form at Sepang”.

Hiroshi Aoyama, Interwetten Honda MotoGP: 16th – 1m 35.261s, 88 laps.
“Today I continue testing mainly without electronics control because the priority at the moment for me is to understand the character of the bike and to adapt my riding style to the bike. I still have to get used to the carbon brakes but compared to yesterday my feeling improved. Today the track conditions were better but and I also felt more comfortable.”