The Repsol Honda Team wrapped up its 2010 season today with a positive second day of testing at the scene of Sunday's Grand Prix of Valencia. Casey Stoner, who joins the team for 2011, finished the day with the fastest time to complete an impressive debut test for the 25-year-old Australian. Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso also made good progress today, with Pedrosa just 0.4s behind Stoner, and Dovizioso - who was suffering from a fever - 0.8s back.
It was a confident display from Stoner on only his second day aboard the Honda RC212V, made possible after Ducati graciously granted him permission to take part in this test. The Australian 2007 World Champion completed 63 laps of the Valencia circuit and also got his first taste of the 2011 prototype Honda, which is an evolution of the 2010 race bike. Stoner finished the day impressed with the power delivery of the machine and declared himself confident there is more performance to come as he gains familiarity at the forthcoming pre-season tests beginning in February next year.
Pedrosa also spent further time testing the 2011 prototype which incorporates modifications designed to further improve the performance of the RC212V he and Dovizioso campaigned this year. The 25-year-old Spaniard reported an improvement in stability under braking and, from his 48 laps - the fastest of which was on his very last circulation - he has provided Honda's engineers with a lot feedback which will be used over the winter for development. Pedrosa was still suffering some lack of strength in the left should he damaged in October and will undergo more hospital tests tomorrow to determine if any further medical intervention is required to speed his recovery.
Dovizioso continued his chassis and electronics testing programme and increased his pace from yesterday, although the 24-year-old Italian was hindered slightly with a fever he picked up overnight. In spite of this, he completed valuable laps testing a modified chassis as well as evaluating the latest evolution Ohlins suspension - with positive results. Feeling less than 100 per cent in the afternoon, Dovizioso was prevented from going for an all-out lap time but, like his Repsol Honda team-mates, he was pleased with the two days and goes into the winter break looking forward to the pre-season tests in Sepang, Malaysia, starting at the beginning of February.
"The test was positive because, even if I couldn't do long runs due to my physical condition, my lap times were quite good and I could get a clear idea about what we liked and what we need to change to make a step forward. We tested the new prototype machine again and it has some good points that can help us to move forward and also some other areas I didn't like so much, but it's not a completely different bike and this is what I asked for, so I'm happy about that. This test was planned to work basically on the chassis and engine; we improved the braking - the bike is more stable - but the engine is still too aggressive from my point of view. We are looking forward to the Sepang test where we can put all the things we liked together, and also do some testing with the new suspension that I haven't tried yet, with the target of achieving better grip and braking power. I also tested two different spec Bridgestone tyres and they worked well. In general I'm satisfied with the work we have done because I've been suffering a lot during the whole weekend with my shoulder, but in spite of this I could give good information to the team for the next test in February. Tomorrow I will go to the doctor again to have a CAT scan, an MRI scan and vascular tests to find out what's wrong with my shoulder. I don't know yet if I will need more surgery, but if it's necessary I will do it."
"I'm happy with the material that Honda brought here and today we worked on the electronics, such as traction control and engine braking, and we made some decent progress. Honda brought a lot of new material here, so we shared the work among the factory riders and I focused on testing electronics controls, although I also tested a slightly different chassis. We also tested the new suspension from Ohlins - the next evolution of the items we tested in Brno in August. They worked well and I had a positive feeling with them. We still need to improve the stability under braking and this is an area we will continue to focus on for next year. This morning I woke up with a fever and this complicated the day. Fortunately this morning I was feeling ok so I tested everything that was scheduled. In the afternoon it became much harder because of the fever though. I'm not so happy with the final lap time, and this is not the best way to finish things before the winter break, but with the fever I couldn't do better. Overall though this was a positive test in terms of the work we got through."