By Gordon Hatch - MotoGP correspondent
- Pedrosa comments on the new Honda RC212V
- Believes Honda's rival teams will be competitive
Pedrosa: RC212V not so much above the rest.
Dani Pedrosa refuses to accept the general talk around the MotoGP paddock that Honda RC212V is well ahead of the rest.
Despite leaving the rest of the MotoGP Paddock in its wake at the last two winter tests and the general consensus that the Honda RC212V currently has the most complete and best prepared package ahead of the first race in Qatar on 20th March, factory rider Dani Pedrosa does not believe the bike to be that far ahead of his rivals'.
Speaking about the upcoming season Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa said although he and his teammates Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso have been consistently at the top of the timing sheets on the six days between the two winter tests at Sepang, Malaysia, he has yet to test a number of parts and there is more to improve.
"I think that right now the bike is reacting well but I don't think it is so much above the rest. In the past we have seen that our bike is good and fast, but what is important in the championship is not what happens in one circuit, but in many. In some areas, our bike is better and in some other area, other bikes are better. In the end, I think that overall balance is the important thing," Pedrosa said.
We only know that they will be very close races, that everyone will do their best.
Honda have worked extensively on the development of the final evolution of the 800cc RC212V with the re-introduction of 1000cc for 2012, Honda HRC Executive Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto said this was down to lots of small changes something that Pedrosa echoed in his comments about the bike improvements.
"Basically, the bike has not changed so much, so what we tried to do is to improve it in the most critical areas, such as the braking or the electronics," he said while adding, "The best thing is that this year we have better foundations, contrary to what happened in the previous years, when we had to evolve and improve the bike during the championship. This season we start with a very positive preparation that will allow us to face the first race of the Championship with a good level of performance".
However, just as rivals Yamaha, Ducati and Suzuki will all have parts of the bike needing more attention than others, Pedrosa also identified areas where the Honda will need work on before the season opener in less than two weeks' time.
The Spaniard was asked for his thoughts on three main areas of the bike and judging from what Pedrosa says there is a lot more to come from the RC212V. Clutch: "I haven't test anything new on that area". Engine brake: "We've been trying to improve. Compared with the Ducati, Casey [Stoner] says the bike is very different in that area and he seems not to be as comfortable as before, so we will try to use his experience to improve the bike. This way we will be able to brake before at the entrance of the corners and that will let us improve our lap times," he said.
Speaking on the new suspension being fitted for 2011 Pedrosa said more time is needed to iron out some issues, "We have tested them on several occasions and they still don't give the 100%, but they have a lot of potential. They allow us to improve the braking and traction, but they also give us a little more rebound. I suppose that, with time, we will be able to use them".
Pedrosa is still getting back to 100% fitness after heavily injuring his shoulder last year in a crash at the Twin-Wing circuit in Motegi, Japan but he said that unlike previous years everything seems to be coming together better in 2011.
"I had difficult preseasons in the last few years, due to the bike, injuries, etc. However, this winter we have been able to have a better prepared bike, so we had less trouble. There is still one test left, but we hope everything will be fine and we will be able to have a good start of the year," he said while also speaking about his shoulder, "I am fairly well. Naturally, my shoulder is not exactly as it was before, but I hope I will feel fine in the first race, which will be the one to tell me, which is my real level. I did a lot of laps this winter, but I have not run a whole race distance yet."
This year the MotoGP paddock is filled with super-fast riders and all teams have upped their games massively however, many still hold the belief that the Hondas are the bikes to beat but Pedrosa re-iterated his thoughts about the level of competition.
"We will see as we go on. It is difficult to say what will happen. We only know that they will be very close races, that everyone will do their best. It will be more or less the same as the previous years, but there will certainly be a hard battle for the top places. As we have seen in the preseason, there will be a lot of competitiveness," Pedrosa added.