Honda riders get down to serious work on second day of Sepang MotoGP test

2006-01-24 01:40
The Honda RC211V riders present on the second day of the three day MotoGP test at Sepang, Malaysia got down to serious testing after the initial shake down session of yesterday. The best part of the day was run in good weather but heavy showers in the late afternoon curtailed the action.

Repsol Honda factory team riders Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa were the fastest RCV riders of the day at Sepang. American Hayden chasing a more stability under heavy braking tried several changes to the geometry of his RCV in combination with suspension settings and tyres, working closely with his new data-logging technician Ramon Aurin. He improved on his best lap time of yesterday and ended the day in a positive frame of mind and is looking forward to tomorrow when he feels he will continue to improve machine performance.

Pedrosa, a MotoGP debutante in 2006, continued where he left of yesterday - just trying to understand how best to evaluate the vast range of machine settings he has available for the RCV. The reigning 250cc World Champion made steady progress all day and lowered his lap time of yesterday. Pedrosa was one of only two riders to take to the track in wet conditions to hone his wet weather riding skills.

Marco Melandri (Fortuna Honda) spent the day chasing optimum chassis and suspension settings for his back up RC211V but failed to find the same balance he has with his best bike. Melandri never establish a good feeling with the machine, or a good rhythm, despite trying several Michelin tyre combinations. Consequently the Italian world number two cold not match his best time set on the opening day of the test.

Melandri's teammate, Toni Elias, continued his rigid test programme concentrating on chassis and suspension settings. The young Spaniard and his team technicians improved both areas of their RC211V and Elias lowered his lap time of yesterday by one second.

LCR Honda rider Casey Stoner was another to lower his previous best lap time for the 5.542 km circuit. The Australian rider made positive progress with his chassis and suspension settings that gave him more rear end grip and a positive feeling from the front end of his RCV.

Kenny Roberts Junior spent his day establishing a base line setting for the Roberts KR211V MotoGP machine a team Roberts built chassis housing a Honda five-cylinder 990cc RCV engine. Today the former 500cc World Champion ran through a series of chassis and suspension changes with the Michelin tyres he will race with this season. With so many things to try Roberts was in the pit box as much as he was out on track, completing just 25-laps before the rain ended his days work. However, despite his stop - go day Roberts managed to shave half a second off his best time of yesterday.

Honda riders lap times and quotes.

Nicky Hayden, USA, Repsol Honda: 2m 02.02s - 65 laps. "It's been a pretty positive day. My outright speed wasn't really much better than yesterday but I was a lot more consistent today and my feeling on the bike was better. We've been trying some different options on the chassis geometry to try and make the bike more stable under braking. And them some got into a bit of Michelin tyres but rain cut me short there. I had a few more to try. On the most part the weather has been really good. And it's been awesome working with my new data-logging guy Ramon [Aurin] and that's been a big help for me. We've got a lot of guys in here working hard and everyone's behind me so we'll just keep chipping away. Trying different geometries to get it more stable under braking.

Dani Pedrosa, E, Repsol Honda: 2m 02.26s - 47 dry laps, 11 wet laps. "We are not making big changes to the bike. Today we retested all the things that we have improved yesterday so that I get a good idea about how the bike works. This is so that I don't get confused and can always go out with a clear idea of what will happen when I push the bike. I feel tired, but less tired than yesterday so I am happy with this. Tomorrow if we have time we may try a race distance. In the wet the RC211V feels very different the 250 in the wet. The tyres are bigger and have more edge grip, but the exit of corner is more slippery. I need some more laps and I hope to have another rain day before the season starts to get some more experience."

"The bike is a little different to the bike I tested in November but it's a similar feeling. When you know exactly the bike you can go out and within two or three laps understand the feeling. At the moment I still don't understand the difference between settings. For the moment we are concentrating more on the suspension and the mechanics of the machine because I do not have enough experience to work on the electronics. For sure Honda is ready, but I am not yet."

Marco Melandri, I, Fortuna Honda: 2m 02.65s - 51 laps. "Yesterday I tried both my machines, mainly concentrating on my number one bike. Today I worked with the number two bike but it felt so much different to my bike of yesterday. I just didn't find a good rhythm in the fast corners. The balance of the two bikes seems so different. I tested some tyres for Michelin today starting with the set I tried last night and they were not so bad yesterday but today with the number two bike the front end was sliding. We have to analyse the data we gathered today before deciding what to do. I will test both bikes tomorrow back to back to try and understand why my feeling with the two bikes is so different."

Toni Elias, E, Fortuna Honda: 2m 02.65s - 43 laps. "We continued in the same way as yesterday. Basically we are following the same programme as Marco (Melandri)) did when he first tried the RCV last season. We found many good points on the chassis and suspension so we concentrated on that. But it's a long process. For example I have four rear suspension links to try and then decide which one is best for the chassis and suspension I feel comfortable with. Tomorrow we will continue to work to the programme the team have decided on and I am happy with that. There is no point trying for a fast time until I have the bike the way I want it."

Casey Stoner, AUS, LCR Honda: 2m 02.57s - 51 laps. "We had a positive day, a great improvement and I was about one second faster than yesterday. We have solved a few problems today. The rear end grip is much better than the last test here and the front ends steers into the corners better. In fact front and rear are better than the last test. We had a slight problem getting off the tight corners so we leaned off the power and that helped improve my feeling. I could have been a little faster if I had the best tyres on when we got the bike running really good."

Kenny Roberts Jnr, USA, Team Roberts: 2m 03.22s - 25 laps. "We are working on a process of elimination and tried a lot of changes today. Just being here working with the bike and analysing what we have right now and where we need to go. We are trying to establish a base line for tomorrow. We worked on the suspension with various tyres so we didn't put in too many consistent laps and didn't have too much track time. Basically we just dialled the bike in ready for tomorrow when I hope to get close to a 2m 02s lap time."

Source: Honda Pro Image

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