The Repsol Honda Team began the first official test of 2010 today as the MotoGP winter break came to an end at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. With an unchanged rider line-up of Spaniard Dani Pedrosa and Italian Andrea Dovizioso, the factory Honda squad once again rolled up the garage shutters and got back out on track in preparation for the coming season.
Although HRC’s engineers and test riders have continued development of the RC212V during the winter testing ban, today was the first time that Pedrosa and Dovizioso had turned a wheel on the 800cc V4 Honda since 11 November last year. So both riders spent the time reacclimatising to riding MotoGP machinery after a two-month layoff, and performed shakedown tests of the latest enhancements and machine updates completed by HRC over the winter period.
Dovizioso completed 51 laps today and declared himself satisfied with the shakedown performance of his RC212V and encouraged by the potential shown by his machine. On a day when outright lap times were not the priority, the 23-year-old finished in 6th place with a best time of 2m 02.630s. Pedrosa, who won the final race of the 2009 season, began the test steadily, completing 51 laps on board the 2010 RC212V. Once more displaying his favoured number 26 on the front of his bike, 24-year-old Pedrosa felt no ill effects following a minor operation he underwent in December to remove a screw from his left wrist, and finished the day with a lap time of 2m 02.866s, which was good enough for eighth on the timesheets.
The Repsol Honda riders will return to the track tomorrow to wrap up this two-day test, before returning to Sepang at the end of February for further pre-season testing.
Dani PEDROSA Speaks… 1:31.944 secs. 51 lap
“This was a normal first day of testing for us. It’s been a long time since we last rode the bike and so it took some time to get used to the speed once again and work back into the rhythm – this is natural. We weren’t looking for lap times or high performance and we spent a lot of the day working on the Ohlins suspension because this is a major change for us this season compared to last.
The feeling from my left wrist where I had a screw removed in December was good, so this is positive. Generally, I took it carefully today and we have plenty of places where we can make further improvements – starting tomorrow.
Andrea DOVIZIOSO Speaks… 1:32.825 secs. 51 laps
“This is a very important test and it’s good to be back on the bike after such a long winter break. This was a positive first day and I’m happy with the updated machine that Honda has brought here. We have a lot of work to do before we’re ready and many things that need to be tested, so today’s lap times are not indicative of our potential.
The work that Honda has done on the electronics has made a big improvement, and also the feeling from the chassis is better. We’re concentrating on improving a pace that we can maintain throughout the race, and that’s what we’ll continue with tomorrow. There’s plenty still to test but this first session has been important to confirm we’re heading in the right direction.”
MotoGP Sepang Test Day-1 Official Results
1. Valentino ROSSI (YAMAHA)
2. Casey STONER (DUCATI)
3. Colin EDWARDS (YAMAHA)
4. Loris CAPIROSSI (SUZUKI)
5. Jorge LORENZO (YAMAHA)
6. Andrea DOVIZIOSO (REPSOL HONDA TEAM)
8. Dani PEDROSA (REPSOL HONDA TEAM)