News 6 Feb 2010

MotoGP: Mixed Sepang testing for Honda's contingent


The second day of the planned two-day test at the Sepang Grand Prix circuit, close to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, was held in ever changing track conditions that demanded the best of team technicians working to establish base line settings for the all new 2010 MotoGP machines MotoGP teams and riders arrived at the circuit to begin testing at 09.00. and were faced with rain and less than ideal track conditions for their days work. The rain, which had began during the night, had washed dirt onto the circuit, an ever recurring problem at Sepang.

Several teams saw the positive side of the situation as the ideal opportunity to test their 2010 machines on a wet track for the first time. Bridgestone had brought tyres to Sepang of exactly the same construction and compounds as raced by the riders at the 2009 GP held at the circuit last October. Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) was the fastest RC212V rider in the wet with second fastest time.

The sun came out at lunchtime and testing began in earnest at one-o’clock with the teams granted an extra hour track time due to the rain. Repsol Honda team riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso made the most of the remaining time both men testing suspension options and overall machine balance as they endeavoured to establish an optimal base line set up ready for the next pre-season test in two-weeks time, again at Sepang.

Both riders improved on their best lap times of yesterday, Pedrosa by a full second – Dovizioso by 0.5s, and both left Sepang for home in buoyant mood and confident that the results of the test and the valuable data gathered over the two-days of testing will enable the HRC staff engineers to further improve the performance of the RC212V.

San Carlo Honda Gresini riders, Melandri and Marco Simoncelli, experienced mixed fortunes on the final day. While Melandri was fast in the wet and, despite running out of time to test suspension, also made progress with the dry set up of his RCV, Simoncelli struggled to establish his base set-up, an early afternoon crash on cold tyres did not help his cause .Simoncelli was relatively unscathed in the crash and managed to get the RCV back to the pits for repairs before returning to action.

Frenchman Randy De Puniet, LCR Honda began the day with his RCV with the settings of yesterday and step by step worked through suspension, geometry and engine mapping to end the day with 13th fastest time set during a long run.

MotoGP debutante Hiro Aoyama was in a slightly more optimistic frame of mind at the end of the day than he was following a disappointing opening day. But the reigning 250cc World Champion is only too aware that he has some way to go before he is completely at home with the RCV.

At five o’clock the rain returned effectively ending the test. The teams and riders will now have two-weeks to analyse the results of the test before returning to Sepang for a three-day test on February 24-26.

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 4th – 2m 01.822s – 50 laps.
“We got through a lot more testing today and I can say that we improved significantly – and that’s important in terms of finding a good direction to follow. We were working mainly on the rear suspension and we’ve managed to collect a lot of data that should help us for the next test here in two weeks’ time. We were also testing swingingarms and at the end of the day I could feel the improvements, and so I’m happy about that. Yesterday it took me longer to get into a rhythm on the machine because it was the first day back in the saddle, but today it was much better – though I’m not at 100 per cent yet. To have the second test here in just two weeks time is really good for us. I haven’t asked for new parts because me and the team think it’s better to analyse what we’ve found here and focus on that. I’m going home satisfied.”

Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 6th – 2m 02.272s – 52 laps.
“I leave Sepang feeling positive and I’m confident for the next test because we have clear ideas about the direction we have to follow. Today we worked on the suspension and tested some set-up options – with positive results. I’m happy because, thanks to the electronics, the package has improved in all aspects – but there is still a job to do. In particular we need to take another step forward regarding the balance. I’m confident that we can work on this at next test session here in Sepang. Today we were always running on hard tyres and we didn’t look for ultimate lap times. I think the next Sepang test will be more indicative about our true pace.”

Marco Melandri, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 11th – 2m 02.810s. 55-laps.
“This morning I did two exit on the wet conditions and the bike was working well. In the afternoon we continue working on the set up and the geometry of the bike. We struggled a bit. we didn’t have the time to work on the suspension but I’m sure that testing different set up we can improve so I’m confident” .

Randy de Puniet, LCR Honda: 13th – 2m 03.043s. 48 laps.
“This morning we decide not to go out on wet conditions and we waited that the track dried. We started with the configuration we finished with yesterday. We worked on suspension, geometry and engine mapping. We slowly improved. I did a long run and I did my best lap times during the long run so this is very positive in preparation of the race. Before the long run I tried a soft tyre but I couldn’t improve my lap times. I’m confident that we can improve. There is the potential so I look forward to next test session “.

Marco Simoncelli, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 15th – 2m 03.245s. 49 laps.
“I’m happy that I didn’t suffer any injuries in the crash, I flew so high in the high side, this didn’t happen in 250. my first idea after the crash was to jump immediately on the bike. Maybe I could have improved my lap times but all in all I’m satisfied. Everything is new for me, the machine, the team. So I’m happy about these first two says of testing. It was important to start knowing the bike and t understand the direction to follow, I look forward to next test session here in two weeks”.

Hiro Aoyama, Interwetten Honda: 14th – 2m 03.195s. 56 laps.
“Compared to yesterday we improved but I’m still not confident on the bike. The machine has changed a lot compared to the one I tested in November and here in December, it feels like a complete new bike and there was not so much time to test. This morning I only went out shortly on wet conditions. In general I’m not happy. ”