The Repsol Honda Team leaves Malaysia with very positive sensations
The Repsol Honda Team has ended its three days of tests in Sepang with very positive results. The three Repsol riders finished among the top five in the overall standings. Dani Pedrosa was in second position, just 13 thousandths behind a surprising Simoncelli, the fastest this week. Casey Stoner was third, 54 thousandths behind the Italian, and Andrea Dovizioso fifth, 188 thousandths off the lead.
Nothing has spoilt the excellent work done by the Repsol Honda Team riders over the three days of the tests, not even a fall for the Australian Stoner this morning, on corner 12 when he was testing one of the two chassis taken to Sepang. Casey lost control of the front wheel on his RC212V when he touched a white line on the edge of the track in Malaysia. In the afternoon he continued to make more adjustments to the traction control so as to improve his speed when taking corners, and at the end he spent some time testing some Bridgestone tyre compounds.
Andrea Dovizioso continued to test the chassis and its geometry, on the bike from 2011. But he spent most time on testing the different clutch setups as this is where the Italian thinks he can most improve the RC212V for 2011. The Italian leaves Sepang very satisfied with the performance of the Honda, and even admitted that he was surprised with its level of competitiveness in these first tests.
Another rider who left the circuit of Sepang with great satisfaction was Dani Pedrosa, who after many difficulties in the last few pre-seasons completed the three days of tests on a competitive bike that he can now control completely. His first worry when he came to Sepang - the state of his left arm and shoulder - soon disappeared as he soon discovered that even though he needs to do more work on his physical fitness to get his strength back. And so he is much more optimistic compared to last year. He did 12 laps on the trot to check the reaction of his shoulder and he came through the test with flying colours.
The three Repsol Honda Team riders will be back at Sepang in a couple of weeks -- 22 to 24 February - for another three days of tests.
Dani Pedrosa "I am very pleased with these tests in general. The best news we can report is that my arm has recovered and the cramps and lack of strength that worried me so much have disappeared. This afternoon we did a long race simulation of 12 laps and it went well. Turning to the work on the bike, I am also satisfied. We tested many things, step by step, and we leave Malaysia with our ideas clear concerning the suspension, with a little to confirm on the chassis and the engine when we come back. I concentrated more on the bike for 2010 and in the second test we will have more time to test this year" bike. Ohlins will also bring some new components and this may improve the whole setup even more. For me, the most important step we have taken is on the braking stability which was one of thethings we set out to do".
Andrea Dovizioso "This morning we tried different setups on the bike and we have improved the handling in the middle of corners. We did some work on the electronics, especially the traction control, and we found some good solutions. We also tested different setups on the clutch, but unfortunately the results were not as good as we had hoped. This morning the track conditions were very good, so we used soft compound tyres and I put in a 2 minute 0 second lap. This was the first time that I set a 2'00" here, so I am very pleased. I am satisfied with the work we have done, both HRC" as well as the team" work and my own. We have started with a very good all round bike. All the Hondas are very competitive and with very strong riders. We realise that what we have done is not enough and we have to carry on working. I am also pleased with the practice program we did in the winter, because physically I have come through the first tests of the year very well".
Casey Stoner "There is no doubt that this was the best day, in spite of the fall. In general we have taken several steps forward, alternating between work on the different chassis and trying to make it comfortable for me. We managed to make the engine work much better with worn tyres and with a different traction control which brakes the wheels a bit faster when the bike starts to slide, that has helped us to improve the speed through corners. I am very satisfied with the solutions that we have found in this test which in fact was something I expected. I am pleased with the whole setup and the fact that we could concentrate on the basic setup which is very important for us".