Rain stops play on second day of MotoGP test at Sepang for Repsol Honda

2006-02-15 01:06
Heavy tropical rain brought the second of the MotoGP test at Sepang, Malaysia to an early close today and the majority of riders of riders elected to stop testing for the day. The weather proved an inconvenience for several Honda riders who had hoped to run race simulations on their new 2006 five-cylinder 990cc RC211V GP machines.

For Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden the conditions brought to an end a promising day on the latest prototype factory RCV, just when he was beginning to get the best out of his new charge. Hayden, 24 from Kentucky set faster lap times than at the last Sepang test, in January, and was in positive mood, pleased with the progress he has made with the prototype machine.

Hayden's teammate, Spaniard Dani Pedrosa worked hard on the engine braking system of his RCV. Pedrosa was another who fell victim to the weather and he had to cancel a planned tyre test session for Michelin.

Fortuna Honda riders Marco Melandri and Toni Elias ended their day with contrasting feelings. Elias was rewarded for his recent hard work with the RCV. The young Spaniard has struggled to find a comfortable fast rhythm with the Honda but today everything came together for him and he put in his best performance yet aboard the RCV.

By contrast Melandri was unfortunate to crash at high speed, particularly unfortunate because he could not find a reasonable explanation for the fall. However, he was pleased with the improved performance of the RCV on an extremely hot mid-morning track surface.

Konica Minolta Honda teamster Makoto Tamada began to make up for his late start to pre- season testing making great progress with the suspension of his RCV posting lap times one second faster than on the opening day. The popular Japanese rider goes into tomorrow's final day of the test in buoyant mood.

Kenny Roberts Junior put in the best one-day session yet aboard the Honda powered KR211V. Roberts broke the 2m 02s bracket for the first time at Sepang, and but for the heavy rain the Californian would have been faster. The former 500cc World Champion and the team have gathered sufficient data to move onto the next stage of chassis development for the KR211V.

Australian Casey Stoner (LCR Honda) is suffering the effects of an old injury that reared its head during a physical training session last week. Stoner has a problem with a tendon in his shoulder and will take no part in testing at Sepang, wisely deciding to return to Australia for specialist treatment.

Honda rider lap times and quotes.

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 2m 02.93s - 53 laps. "Today I rode the new bike all day and we made some good progress. It was the first time we've had chance to spend a lot of time on the chassis and engine and I went quite a lot faster on it than I did last time here so that's positive. It's still a prototype machine and there are a lot of things we still need to try because it's quite a bit different to my other bike. It would have been nice to test the two bikes back to back but I'm sure we'll get a chance tomorrow."

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2m 01.93s - 50 laps. "Today we did a short job, but it was good quality. The track was good this morning and the lap time was also good. We tried some different settings with the engine braking which was important for me to gain more experience and understand how the bike reacts. This afternoon we were going to do some tyre testing and a longer run, but the rain interrupted us."

Makoto Tanaka - Repsol Honda Team Manager "I hoped for good weather today but instead we got a storm at 3pm! With Nicky is leading the development of the new bike and again had many items to test. Because of the rain we couldn't get though everything but I am not worried because we have tomorrow. Dani put in a good time before lunch and will continues to learn step-by-step."

Tady Okada, HRC test rider: Not chasing lap time. "We are at the first stage with the bike and today we concentrated on the handling. The bike has very good points and is now very good on deceleration. Acceleration is not yet perfect but we are going in he right direction. The machine also holds its line very well."

Marco Melandri, Fortuna Honda: 2m 02.74s - 38 laps. "Bad day for me. I had a big crash at the first fast right hand corner, I'm OK but the bike is a mess. I really don't know why the crash happened it was very strange because I was on the throttle when I went down. Checking the telemetry after the crash we got the bike back the data showed exactly the same settings as the previous laps had at that corner. Anyway, on the positive side when it was really hot today I felt the bike has improved from yesterday. I have to say we are not so far off where we need to be. Tomorrow we start a day of tyre testing. Michelin have several tyres they want us to test and it will be very important for us to understand how the bike behaves with the new tyres."

Toni Elias, Fortuna Honda: 2m 02.686s - 38 laps. "I'm satisfied of today's test session and it was really a pity that at lunchtime started to rain and the afternoon session was completely spoiled. This morning we worked at the balance of the bike as I have some problem with weight distribution. We tested some different solutions and the feeling with the bike improved a lot. Then we started working with Michelin technicians, we started testing some tyres and the bike was working well. Thanks to the work done on the weight distribution and tyre testing I could improve my rhythm and I was quite satisfied. It was scheduled to test some new Michelin tyres in the afternoon but I couldn't because of the heavy rain. Tomorrow we will continue tyre testing, For me it's very important to work alongside the Michelin technicians, I'm confident that I can improve my pace."

Makoto Tamada, Konica Minolta Honda: 2m 02.645s - 50 laps. "I am very satisfied with today's progress. I was trying various suspension set up options. I found a good one for the front-end setting and I am close with the rear. I now have more feed back from the machine. I also tried three different rear tyres we were going to do a long run but the rain interrupted our plans. From now on we move to more delicate settings but I have a good feeling for tomorrow, and the coming IRTA tests. Tomorrow I will do a long run and, maybe, a time attack. I feel comfortable and I am enjoying riding very much."

Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR Honda: 2m 02.94s - 41 laps. "We spent the day testing front tyres for Michelin and found one we really like. Basically we confirmed Michelin's theory about the tyres individually and Michelin are happy with the feedback we gave them. The bike worked really well today and we are making real progress. When the rain came we decided to stop, as we were close on mileage with the engine so we fitted a new engine ready for tomorrow. We will start testing rear tyres. tomorrow. We are really happy with what we achieved today."

Casey Stoner, LCR Honda: "I suffered this injury nearly six years ago during a dirt track training. In that period the doctor decided to avoid any operation because he thought it was not necessary and for the following 5 years I really never had problems. Last November I started a new intensive training to increase my muscles preparing my body to the new effort required by this type of bike and I have probably inflamed the old tendonitis. Tomorrow morning I will fly back home to see a sports specialist involved in the National Football League and we will value the solution together. Honestly I will do my best to be at 100% soon because I think that a simple tendonitis is not a insuperable problem".

Source: Honda Pro Image

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