Ready to Win
We recently met with Marco Simoncelli, during Honda Gresini 2011 official presentation in Monza Italy. Marco spoke with a very friendly tone and as usual he is always direct and without inhibitions, on any topic whether MotoGP or other.
Despite his growing popularity, not only in Italy but across motorcycle racing fans world-wide, Marco remains down to earth. Behind his beloved Honda RC212V, inside race track garage, he answered many questions asked by moto journalists.
Most of the attention and big curiosity is directed to the RC212V technical specs, but Simoncelli put this issue to bed, saying that he immediately decided to use the 2011 configuration of the RC212V, which carried him to the fastest time at the first Sepang test (as opposed to other Honda riders who are divided on different frame and engine options).
Regarding the new gearbox, Marco says he does not see anything so "strange", but that gearbox has been a hot topic of discussion.
He says, "I think there are many considerations. I always ride the same way and gearbox that’s perhaps slightly different from the 2010 bike, so is because we use different equipment and electronics, but nothing so strange or never seen before on a racing bike".
There may be other explanations about this gearbox, around the paddock, but in the end are a few guys riding an official RC212V, Marco being one of them, so we have tend to take his words as true.
Simoncelli gives a very simple and concise explanation on technique of the new 2011 Honda 800cc. "As I see it, the question of the frames is not so important, when I tried them was very little difference between the two versions, as the perception of ride as lap time."
About the many mates and rivals, as compared to the other three official Honda riders, Marco remains on his own. He says, "it was enough have already a strong rider as Pedrosa, as reference and to beat at the same time" as for having Stoner on the same bike, for Simoncelli doesn’t change a lot the things, he sees it as a further motivator to go faster on the RC212V.
Q: How do you feel now, compared with a year ago when you were a MotoGP rookie; now a full factory rider, with the premise of being a potential winner?
Marco Simoncelli: "It is certainly very different now compared to 2010. I am aware of what I can do. When we started, both I and the team had to understand each other and when the results do not come clearly it was not pleasant:, you wonder what is wrong…
"But then I got the confirmation and I have seen the growth of benefits, including the bike and how I could fix it. I am certainly much more satisfied and determined now, the last few months have given us feelings that are certainly very pleasant."
Q: Do you really see this 2011 Honda as the winning bike, for the start of the season, especially now that you’re 100% factory rider (as Fausto Gresini explained during the presentation)?
Marco Simoncelli: "Yes, of course, I am convinced that the RC212V is the strongest at the moment, for me it’s a great bike especially on single fast lap, it made me fall in love when I tried it the first time, both in terms of easy riding and great performance. Obviously about the pace I cannot give an absolute superiority on the contrary I believe, however, the Yamaha is very close, M1 riders are very strong and very close to us."
Q: Are You annoyed by the constant media focus to the internal rivalry between the Honda riders, with Stoner in theory (for some media) that has come to give fuel to the fire?
Marco Simoncelli: "But no, I do not care too much about Stoner and Pedrosa, I look and focus only on my situation. Certainly when a marshall asked me if I made the cut at Malaysia, I replied because he was not going to ask Pedrosa too, who had been fastest on the day before."
Q: Some fans, outside, continue to hear from a number of years that Honda is the bike closer to production, compared to rivals. RC211 and RC212 in the past have been defined theoretically less difficult and therefore more accessible for riding; less stressful for a rider. Can you confirm this thing after one season of experience?
Marco Simoncelli:"Honestly, the first thing I have to say is that mine is a great bike. Of course the Honda is well prepared and finished, but I have not ridden any other MotoGP machine.
"However, I can say that the 800cc as bike is difficult, more difficult than any other I rode, because it is one that requires more concentration and you are less forgiving. Then, I do not know how much the rival models are difficult and laborious than Honda".
Q: What can you tell about your new teammate: Aoyama (you ran in 250cc. with him as competitor)?
Marco Simoncelli: "Hiroshi is a good rider and he will certainly soon be in front positions, maybe uncomfortable for us. In 2010 he had problems and it is currently not able to be 100% fast on single lap, but he already has a good pace and he can adapt to the new bike; although I hope he do not win like in 2009, when he managed to beat me, too, winning the title in 250cc."