Fruitful day for Honda MotoGP riders on day two of Fruitful day for Honda MotoGP riders on day t

2007-01-31 09:54
The Honda RC212V riders today put the second day
of the three-day MotoGP test at Phillip Island,
Australia to good use as they continue their
preparations for the 18-round world championship
series that begins with the Qatar GP on March 10.

In bright sunshine greeted the riders as they
arrived at the 4.448 km circuit to begin an
arduous day gathering and evaluating technical
data from the all-new for 2007 RCV 800cc
four-cylinder machines they will campaign this
season. All seven Honda powered riders put in
marathon stints of between 82 laps, put in by
Dani Pedrosa, and the 100 laps from Carlos Checa.

Despite his relatively modest 82 laps Repsol
Honda factory rider Pedrosa was the fastest Honda
man on the day. The former three-time world
champion in the smaller capacity classes
continued working on the chassis and suspension
plus adjustments to the engine electronic mapping
before moving on to tyre testing with Michelin.
Thee young Spaniard ended the day with a best lap
time of 1m 30.45s - 0.84 seconds faster than his best time of yesterday.

World Champion Nicky Hayden just failed to equal
the time set by his Repsol Honda team-mate ending
his day 0.57 seconds adrift of Pedrosa. The
Champion had continued working on overall machine
balance evaluating various changes to the
geometry of his RCV in combination with several
different Michelin tyres. Hayden improved but the
front end of his RCV still needs work to
eradicate front wheel 'Pushing' in the fast corners.

The Gresini Honda riders dedicated their day to
tyre testing for Bridgestone. Marco Melandri
running 99 laps testing a range of tyres in a bid
to decide the best direction for developing a
winning combination of tyres, suspension and
chassis. Single lap times showed no significant
improvement but Melandri established a fast consistent race pace.

Toni Elias, on the second Gresini Honda, got off
to a slow start but once he found a set of
Bridgestone tyres to suit his riding style the
Spaniard made a step forward. The tyres and
refined setting adjustments gave Elias improved
feeling for the RCV and more feed back for the Gresini technicians to work with

Spaniard Carlos Checa continued his successful
start to his debut season with Honda four-stroke
power. At 34 Checa is the elder statesman among
the Honda riders but the near veteran has
retained his enthusiasm for racing and his
ability to provide precise assessments of machine
performance for his technical crew to work with.

Working on chassis and suspension settings to
suit the 4.448 km track the team found a good
base line that allowed Checa to ride comfortably
the Spaniard eventually completed 100
consistently fast laps the best at 1m 30.84s, a
full second faster than on the opening day of the
test. The Spaniard had a lucky escape when struck
by a seagull while travelling at 210 km/h. Checa,
he was unhurt in the incident.

Konica Minolta Honda rider Shinya Nakano
abandoned yesterdays test session due to illness
but returned to the track today and put in 89
hard laps. Team technicians trying to gauge the
effect various front suspension changes brought
to bear and how sensitive Nakano was to the
changes. Nakano improved on his best time of yesterday by 0.875 seconds.


Team Roberts concentrated on trying to improve
grip on the exit from the fast corners at Phillip
Island. Team rider Kenny Roberts Jnr bettered the
best lap time he set yesterday by almost half a
second but the team still have work to do to perfect fast corner exit.


Honda rider quotes and lap times.

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 1m 30.61s - 91 laps
"We went quite a bit faster today which is good,
and we got through a lot of options and settings.
We're working on the balance of the bike which we
haven't got quite right yet, especially in the
fast corners. We improved our pace, though
there's the same basic issue where the bike isn't
quite turning as I'd like it to and it pushes the
front a little. Still, we got a lot of data today
so the guys will put their heads together tonight
and figure out some more improvements for tomorrow."


Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 1m 30.45s - 82 laps
"The weather was good to us today and we got
through a lot of testing, including chassis and
suspension adjustments, plus some engine settings
work. As well as that we did some more tyre
testing with Michelin, which was positive. We
made some good progress especially towards the
end of the day and the lap time is not so bad.
Now we have to analyse the data we collected
today and work on going quicker still on the last day tomorrow.


Marco Melandri, Gresini Honda: 1m 30.70s - 99
laps. "I'm quite satisfied. I like the bike and
today we focused on tyre testing. We completed an
impressive 99 laps. We tested many tyres and now
we have decided the line to follow. I didn't
improve too much my lap time on a single lap but
the race pace was good. In the morning we started
with yesterday setting and I had a good feeling
from the beginning, then, during the day, we
tested some different set up solutions but we
didn't got the results we wanted, this slowed
down the work programme so I couldn't make
further improvements in the lap time. From a
physical point, the 800cc is quite demanding as
the old 1000, in fact it is faster in the corner
but it is has the same weight of the 1000cc".


Toni Elias, Gresini Honda: 1m 31.40s - 90
laps. "This morning we struggled a bit but then
we found a good solution that allowed us to make
a small step forward. We tested several tyres and
found one that is good to my characteristics,
this allowed me to improve also my feeling with
the bike. Tomorrow we will keep on working in
this direction and further improvements are
expected. In fact it's very important to create a
good base and find a good compromise for the Honda-Bridgestone package".


Carlos Checa, LCR Honda: 1m 30.84s - 100 laps.
"Today was much better! We worked to adjust the
chassis and the suspensions setting to this track
and we found a good base. In fact today I lapped
constantly with a good pace improving my lap time
of one second. We tested some Michelin tyres with
pretty good results and now I feel more
comfortable on the bike. I can easily say that
the things are going in the right way and
tomorrow we will focus on the engine adjustment
and the electronic parts. These two day were
pretty productive for us but the sad part regards
the impact I had with a sea gull along the track
this morning. It hit the wind screen of my bike
and also my arm when I was 210kmh of speed. I couldn't' avoid it!".


Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda: 1m 31.355s -
89 laps."I'm very sorry for the team that I was
not 100% fit yesterday and that I was not able to
cover so many laps. Today I feel so much better
and having been able to cover many more laps we
have obtained lots of information that has led us
to a finer set-up on the new Honda RC212V. Today
we started to test the new Michelin front tyres
and tomorrow this hard work will continue with
some new rear tyres to find a good balance for
the bike. I'm very happy about today's work, even
if I know I'm far from my best lap time at this
early stage in testing. The important thing is
that at the moment my feeling with the bike is
getting better and better and the communication
with the staff in the team is improving daily and
getting easier and easier. This is vital, as in
testing it's not just the bike being developed,
but the relationship in the team. At the moment,
we are trying to make a good solid foundation for
what we all know will be a fruitful collaboration for the future."


Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR212V: 1m 31.55s - 94
laps."We improved setting-wise and lowered our
lap time by half a second or so today. We were
working on exit grip at four or five points on
the track -and we'll try and improve that
tonight. If we can do that we should make up
another half-second. We also tried to get through
some tyre testing with Michelin. Everything was
pretty standard today - it was a little bit windy
but it was fine other than that - nothing too special today."

Unofficial lap times.

1. Alex Barros, D'Antin Ducati: 1m 30.01s - 54 laps
2. Loris Capirossi, Ducati Marlboro Team: 1m 30.34s - 59 laps.
3. Casey Stoner, Ducati Marlboro: 1m 30.39s - 54 laps.
4. Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 1m 30.45s - 82 laps.
5. Alex Hofmann, D'Antin Ducati:1m 30.60s - 74 laps.
6. Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 1m 30.61s - 91 laps.
7. Marco Melandri, Gresini Honda: 1m 30.74s - 99 laps.
8. Carlos Checa, LCR Honda: 1m 30.84s - 100 laps.
9. Chris Vermeulen, Rizla Suzuki: 1m 31.18s - 75 laps.
10. Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda: 1m 31.35s - 89 laps.
11. Toni Elias, Gresini Honda: 1m 31.51s - 90 laps.
12. Kenny Roberts Jnr, Team Roberts: 1m 31.55s - 94 laps.
13. John Hopkins, Rizla Suzuki: 1m 31.63s - 65 laps.

Source: Honda Pro Image

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