The Repsol Honda Team was back in action at Valencia today as preparations for the 2011 season began with the first of two days of MotoGP testing. Early morning rain ruled out any action when the track opened at 10am, but sunshine at lunchtime dried the surface and at 12.30 the garage shutters began to open and the new-look MotoGP field, which features several riders who have switched teams, took to the circuit.
Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso and Casey Stoner began a busy schedule of testing aimed at honing the development direction of the 2011 RC212V in preparation for the first tests of 2011 at Sepang, which take place at the beginning of February. The 2011 machine will be an evolution of the RC212V that won four races, secured 16 podium finishes and became one of the strongest packages on the grid in the second half of the season. Pedrosa rode both the latest evolution chassis and his 2010 race bike, reporting that at this early stage he felt an improvement in stability.
Dovizioso also rode with different chassis and swing-arm options in order to gather further information for Honda's development engineers to use over the winter break and testing ban period, which comes into force after this test and lasts until the end of January. Dovizioso spent valuable time honing engine electronics settings to improve the stability under braking and, although the increasing wind at the Valencia circuit limited the opportunity for laps at maximum pace towards the end of the afternoon, the Italian was satisfied with today's test.
Stoner, Repsol Honda's new rider for 2011, got his first taste of the 800cc Honda RC212V that he will campaign next year as part of the three-rider factory Honda squad. The Australian, who was kindly granted permission to test here by Ducati, spent the day getting comfortable with the 2010 RC212V, adjusting riding position, controls and working up to speed. Stoner was satisfied with his first day on the Honda and will join the other riders at Valencia again tomorrow for the final day of MotoGP action of 2010.
Dani Pedrosa "Today I rode the 2010 bike we used in Sunday's race and also next year's evolution machine. The chassis is slightly different and I have to do more laps tomorrow to understand it further - but my first thought is that it is a bit stiffer with the target of getting more stability, more grip and better braking. Today we used only one tyre and didn't make many changes to the bike to keep things simple. Unfortunately we had a problem with the electronics on the first lap and this meant we lost some time in the pits, but anyway it was good not to do so many laps today because of my physical condition. I thought that having Monday off I would feel better but I'm still tired from yesterday and feeling some effects from the injury. The feeling is quite similar from both machines, although I didn't get stuck into any real comparisons, so we will come back tomorrow and continue with our testing schedule."
Andrea Dovizioso "We tried a new chassis and new swing-arm in 2011 configuration and we could feel small differences - although there was a lot of wind compared to race day which made for tricky conditions. The new chassis gave a little bit more stability at the rear and the new swing-arm gives less pumping, but there was a little less grip also, so we aim to find a compromise. The lap time came quite easily today without pushing too much or being at the limit, which is positive. I didn't fit a soft tyre and go out to set one fast lap because we wanted to focus on our programme. So I'm very confident that we can improve a lot. Apart from Lorenzo who was so fast, we were all very close. At first we spent quite a long time finding the right setup for a new engine braking configuration, and we wanted to fix this before going on to analyse any new items. For tomorrow the plan is to test another chassis and several electronics settings, and we will also test the 2011 forks which are modified compared to the ones we tested in Brno in August. Tomorrow the weather forecast is good so I'm really looking forward to continuing this test."
-source: repsol honda