MR. IKENOYA'S INTRODUCTION TEAM IN THE 2000 SEASON Because of the lack of testing and the bad physical condition of the riders, we had a few problems with the 500 NSR Honda at the beginning of the season. We tried to improve the horsepower, ...
MR. IKENOYA'S INTRODUCTION
TEAM IN THE 2000 SEASON
Because of the lack of testing and the bad physical condition of the riders, we had a few problems with the 500 NSR Honda at the beginning of the season. We tried to improve the horsepower, about 10ps, and we achieved it but it was not easy to get a good rideability.
At Suzuka, we put last year's specifications with some modified parts and from then on, you know.
Although the official Honda riders did not have such a good performance, the other satellite team riders, Alexandre Barros, Loris Capirossi and Valentino Rossi did quite well. In the 250cc class, also Katoh and Ukawa are doing very well and this is what we planned. This last two riders also won the Suzuka 8 Hours race this year. We've also thought about having Ukawa in the 500cc class. Ukawa has done well in the 250cc class in the past four years, so if everything is correct with the sponsors we're planning to put him in the 500cc.
You know we've already signed the contract with Alex Criville. Alex is not doing too good this year but we know he has high potential so we want him to regain his confidence back and show his true potential. That's why we signed the contract already this season for the 500cc next year.
Valentino Rossi is doing very well this season, being his first year in the 500cc. We evaluated his talent as very high and we could also see at the Suzuka 8 Hours race that he is a true professional rider. So we hope he will do well as a Honda rider in the future.
TEAM'S STRUCTURE IN THE 2001
We're planning to run 6 NSR 500 and 3 NSR 250.
4 STROKE MACHINES
In 1998, when we had a talk within the GPMA of how to activate the future of the world motorcycling championship, we came with the idea of the four stroke machine. With the support of other manufacturers, such as Suzuki, Yamaha, Aprilia, Cagiva and also Dorna's request, this is how all this plan came out. We came up with this idea to increase the number of entries in the grand prix. At the moment, two stroke engines remain but if we allow four stroke machines to enter, there will be more machines in the championship. The most important factor to introduce 4-stroke machines is to reduce cost. We're not going to do what is done in the Formula-1, that is, using a new engine in each qualifying but we did that when we were introducing the NR500 and we are not going to do this with the new machine.
4-STROKE VS 2-STROKE
A 500 NSR crankshaft lasts 3000 kilometers. With the 4-stroke we want to keep at the same level as this NSR 500 to mantain low cost. We are not going to introduce the expensive technology such as the air valves that are being used in the Formula-1, this is very expensive.
We think that maintenance is also a very important factor and we want to keep this machine's maintenance up to the level of superbikes.
We started with the development of this new machine in April, after knowing about this new regulation. We're studying different types of engines: the number of cylinders are 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 and different types of engines, oval pistons included. At the moment we're at a comparison stage. We will decide at the end of this year so that we can introduce this new machine by mid January. That will be when we have the official announcement of Honda's new year motorsports activities. We will start with the testing of this new machine in the Spring. Honda will be developing this machine together with Asaka R&D. The management will be entirely done by HRC. We will be introducing this bike in the 2002 and we're planning to have one or two riders for this machine because we need a period to mature this machine.
One of the main aims to introduce this machines in the grand prix is not to win consistently but to supply these bikes to satellite teams so as to activate grand prix racing.