Australia MotoGP: Repsol Honda Down

Phillip Island MotoGP

The Repsol Honda team, the only Honda factory effort currently in MotoGP, didn’t have much luck at Phillip Island for the Australian Grand Prix Sunday.

Besides Dani Pedrosa opting out due to not being up to strength from his Motegi MotoGP crash, Andrea Dovizioso had technical issues with his Honda RC212V and had to retire on the third lap.

After very difficult practice sessions and qualifying that only started the Italian from ninth, Dovi had issues with the steering damper on his Honda superbike. And after lap 3, not one factory Honda was competing.

With Dovizioso and Pedrosa out, and with Rizla Suzuki rider Loris Capirossi out due to hurting his groin, the usual 17-rider field was down to 14.

Dovi looked strong before the technical issue on his Honda; after his start from ninth, he quickly moved up to fifth before the DNF. But this didn’t come easy. He lost two positions by the end of the straight, but regained them in between turn 1 and 2.

Then he passed Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Ben Spies to take fifth. But on lap 2, he was passed by Spies and Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi. Then going into turn 1, he had some issues and fell back to last place before his technical problem placed his Honda in the MotoGP garage.

Repsol Honda is currently analyzing the cause of the problem, and will be preparing for the penultimate round of the 2010 MotoGP Championship in Portugal. As Dovi mentally prepares in good physical condition, his teammate Pedrosa is looking to get back to action at Estoril and keep his second-place position in the MotoGP championship.

Andrea Dovizioso
says: “It’s really a pity that I had to retire today because we had worked hard with team and, after two difficult days of practice, today we had the pace to fight for third position and a podium finish. I made a good start and I was able to recover some positions.”

“On the first lap I did a 1m31.7s without pushing too hard and I was fifth across the line. In the first two laps though I felt the steering was stiff and on lap three this caused me to lose a lot of positions.”

“I could control the bike but, although I completed another lap, it was too risky to keep riding and I had to come into the pits. There was a problem at the steering damper mounting – it had moved into an incorrect position, so now we will investigate the causes.”

“I’m really disappointed because after two great races in Japan and Malaysia, it was important to make a good race here to fight for third position in the championship. Still, now we will look to get the best results possible in Estoril and Valencia.”

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One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007 and is currently Editor at Large at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of 365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).