When HRC announced last year that they would be switching to Ohlins suspension for the 2010 MotoGP season, it was widely seen as a determination to win back the MotoGP crown which Honda has chased so long and so hard. Since making the switch, Andrea Dovizioso's lot has greatly improved, but the man Honda intend to win the championship has not fared so well. Dani Pedrosa has struggled in testing so far this preseason, ending the final MotoGP test of the year at Qatar in lowly 13th position, over a second down on his Repsol Honda teammate and even behind the satellite LCR Honda of Randy de Puniet.
In an interview with the website of the Spanish magazine Motociclismo.es, Pedrosa expressed his despair about the situation telling the magazine: "I have had problems before in my career, but they have never lasted for such a long time." When asked exactly what the problems were, Pedrosa pointed to the difficulty of making the bike more stable. "The bike is moving around a lot," Pedrosa told Motociclismo, "with a lot of pumping at the rear. The whole bike is shaking and the front wheel is moving around because I can't feel the tires gripping the tarmac."
The problem was just limited to corner entry, however. "I'm talking about all of the corner in general. I'm slow in every part of the corner, and this is making my rhythm very slow." Efforts to solve the problem have so far failed to deliver for the Spaniard. "When we try and fix one thing, we find another problem somewhere else," Pedrosa told Motociclismo. "It has been very complicated, and I haven't found what I'm looking for." Pedrosa emphasized that the problems weren't down to a lack of hard work by the team, they had simply not yet been able to find a solution.
Pedrosa described the situation as difficult and frustrating, and admitted he could not see how he could be fighting at the front when the season gets underway at Qatar. That did not alter his determination in any way, however, and Pedrosa affirmed that he would do what he could to be competitive. "We are in a difficult situation," Pedrosa said, "we're about to go to the first race and we would like to be much nearer the front, but we will fight with the equipment we have."
Pedrosa's teammate Andrea Dovizioso believes that the Spaniard's mistake was not to switch from Showa to Ohlins after the Brno round last season, when he had the chance. Dovizioso had made the switch straight away, aware that HRC would be dropping the Showa suspension units for 2010. "I started immediately working with Ohlins because we knew it was a lot of work to do," Dovizioso told Motorcyclenews.com's Matthew Birt. That has given him an advantage, Dovizioso believes, as he has already dealt with the problems Pedrosa currently faces last year. That work has clearly paid off, with Dovizioso ending the Qatar test in 3rd place, behind only Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi. This week's paper edition of Motorcycle News has a fuller interview with the Italian.