Before the Repsol Honda team began the necessary preparation for the first official MotoGP test session at Sepang on Tuesday, they introduced the 2011 livery of the RC212V motorcycles and all three riders.
The Repsol Honda team of Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso were at the Pan Pacific Hotel of Kuala Lumpur on Monday with their machines for a welcome party. Before the media and fans, Repsol launched its 2011 MotoGP livery.
Repsol Honda is the first and only team to field three riders in the four-stroke era of MotoGP; the last time this occurred was in 1995, when Mick Doohan, Alex Criville and Shinichi Ito first rode in Repsol colors with their Hondas NSR 500 machines.
Many representatives of Respol Honda MotoGP were at the launch, including Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) Vice President, Shuhei Nakamoto, who underlined the hard work done by the engineers during the winter to improve all aspects of the Honda RC212V.
Shuhei Nakamoto and Livio Suppo, HRC Communication & Marketing Director, presided the event and were in charge of introducing Pedrosa, Dovizioso and Stoner to the media. The three riders are very excited about this new challenge and determined to fight for victory every Sunday.
Shuhei Nakamoto (HRC Vice President) says: "In 2011, Honda Racing’s effort in MotoGP is stronger then ever. As we did in the 90’s, we will again be a strong three-rider team, with a clear mission: to win the Title.
"All three of our Repsol Honda Team riders know how to win a MotoGP Championship, because all of them have been World Champions in the past, and we will give them all our support for this big challenge.
"We can do this thanks to the great support of all our partners. We are glad to continue the long term relationship with Repsol – not only our title sponsor since 1995, but also a very important technical partner, working together with us to develop fuels and lubricants. This season we welcome a new partner: Astra Honda. I hope they bring good fortune in their first full season with us.
"The RC212V that is here in Sepang for this first test of the season, is an evolution of the 2010 machine. Last year’s MotoGP results show that we can count on a good base but we must continue developing.
"With important feedback from Dani, Andrea and Casey, I am sure we will take another step forward during the winter tests, to be strong from round one. Nevertheless, our development will never stop, because for Honda, competitions are the best way to test new technology and improve the existing one."
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda MotoGP) says: "I was looking forward to be again together with my team to plan the new season. The winter break has been long, as always, but in my case also good because I had time to rest and do a proper rehabilitation for my shoulder.
"The feeling looks OK now, I get here to Sepang much better but I’m also looking forward to see what is my level on the bike. It will be like a personal test for me and I’m excited to see the results.
"The MotoGP test program is to continue developing the good base we had last year. In particular we need to find something extra on the chassis and the engine to improve the stability of the bike entering the corner and the traction at the exit.
"My target is to fight for the title, of course. In my previous years in MotoGP I had very good races, I’ve been fighting in front but I still miss the title. This can be due to several reasons, but if I could change something I would say my real wish is not to be injured again.
"It’s very difficult to avoid it, I know, but this would be my first desire, to be in all the starting grids this season because this will give me more points that if I’m not there."
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda MotoGP) says: "I’m very happy to be part of the HRC team, especially this year as we will be a very competitive team, stronger than ever. We are three riders able to fight for the win and the title, and my team and I are very enthusiastic about it.
"Last year we did a good season, in the Valencia MotoGP test we did another step forward with the evolutions brought by Honda. This year we have a hard target; to fight for the championship.
"Honda has worked hard during the winter and I also did my part. I have started a new training method to gain more resistance in the race distance, I have trained a lot and I really believe in the preparation. Then of course we can see the final results only once I will be on track, but fortunately I don’t have to wait too much. Tomorrow we will be on track and I will start testing the 2011 evolutions."
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda MotoGP) says: "I’m really excited and It’s a great feeling to wear the Repsol Honda colours for the first time. When I was a child, I used to watch Mick Doohan winning the titles one after the other with these colors and for me it’s an honour to be part of this team.
"I look forward to jump on the bike because in November the first test was very positive but Valencia is a particular track and it’s important to test here at Sepang to understand better the strong points of the RC212V and where we have to improve to be competitive on every MotoGP track.
"I know that it will be a tough season because there are many strong riders, starting with my two team mates, but I’m very motivated for this new challenge."