Repsol Press Release: Andrea Dovizioso On The Qatar Race And The Strengths And Weaknesses Of The Honda

The Repsol Media service are at it again, providing a trickle of press release interviews with their riders in the run up to the final MotoGP test at Qatar. Today it is the turn of Andrea Dovizioso, in which he talks about the Honda RC212V, it's strengths and weaknesses. With an interview with Casey Stoner issued yesterday, and one with Dovizioso today, expect a press release with Dani Pedrosa tomorrow or Friday. Here's the press release interview:

"We have many chances to fight for the championship"

The Repsol rider states that this preseason tests in Malaysia were one of the fastest he remembers

Andrea Dovizioso faces the last 2011 preseason tests in Qatar, at Losail Circuit – March 13 and 14 –, before the start of the World Championship, confident of his possibilities in the fight for the championship. Proud of the progress made by his Repsol Honda RC212V 2011, the Italian foresees one of the most closely-fought MotoGP seasons of the last few years.

This weekend, the last preseason tests before the first race of the World Championship will take place in Qatar. Which do you think will be your position in the battle for the championship?

"I believe we can think about the championship because we have many possibilities to get it. The situation now is that I am not so fast as Dani [Pedrosa] or Casey [Stoner], specially in setting fast laps, but also a little bit in race pace. We did both tests in the same circuit, so we need to know which will be the level in another track and the difference with the other rivals. I really think that we have many chances to fight. We still have to improve in some areas and solve the problems with the front end,, but I am confident we will be able to do a very good season. If we will be in the actual battle for the championship, we still don't know".

The Qatar Grand Prix will last 4 days, what do you think about this change in the usual schedule of a World Championship round?

"I don't like it very much, because it's too long. I don't think having two days with only one session is the best way to work, but it will be the same for everyone, so it won't be a big trouble."

The Repsol Honda Team has three riders with great potential, you are both going fast and you have a bike that is working very well up to now. It seems this championship will be very fast, what do you think?

"I think this season will be faster and more closely-fought than in the last few years. The level of the Hondas and the Yamahas is very similar and there are six riders that use these two brands that have chances to fight for victory in the races and the championship. We also need to take Valentino into account, as everyone know how strong he is. About us, having three riders together in the HRC official team is important and it also gives us a lot of motivation. I had never seen such fast preseason tests as the first and second session we had, where the riders improved their lap times a lot This means that they all want to be in front and is really motivating. It is also important because Honda will have the possibility to always be in the fight for the lead".

Right now, which are the stronger features of the bike?

"Power, that is undoubtedly one of the strongest features. But it is also very strong under breaking. Unfortunately, we still have some trouble with the stability of the rear, but the front end works very well. Traction is also good, so I believe the package is really competitive".

Which do you think is the area that has to be improved?

"We need to solve the problem we found on the front end during the race simulation, because it's very important. We also have to work on the stability in the rear. There is sometimes some rebound and if we find the way to solve it, the bike will be perfect".

What can you tell us about these three elements of the bike?

Clutch: "I think it is the cause of the lack of stability. I am not an engineer, but this is what I feel".

Engine brake: "We noticed a big improvement in the first day of the second test in Malaysia, so I am happy with the engineer's work".

New suspensions: "The 2011 suspensions are very good, the offer better feedback to the riders and we are able to brake later. There are some vibes in the front, but it doesn't appear on the data - it seems it's something only the riders feel - so it is not a big problem".


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On technical issues with the Honda,my take is that Dovi is saying much the same as Casey.Must be an engineers nightmare.One rider in the team conveying his feedback in Italian English,one in Australian English,another in Spanish English.
Then it all has to be correctly translated into useable criticism for the engineers back in Japan to disect.
Some people within any factory racing team don't get paid enough.
HRC are on a mission.
As for Dovi,he is a humble and very fast rider. He shone in Dani's abscence last year.
He just needs to get one monkey off his back.
That is, a good head to head GP win over any 'alien' on a fair weather race day.
The confidence will majestically appear and the results will follow.
Should that happen early season,Championship possible is on the cards.

First, what seems like a mixed message about the front end (it is a strong point about the bike, but needs to be improved under a race simulation) may be chalked up to issues with translation.

But, second, isn't it funny how Stoner and Dovizioso come to the braking point in, apparently, opposite directions?  Yesterday's press release had Stoner saying he couldn't brake as late as he wanted to, but Dovizioso is happy that he can brake later than what he was used to.  Does anyone (outside of HRC) have any data comparing these guys' braking points?

And, third, notice that Dovizioso has been primarily riding the 2011 suspension, but Stoner has been testing with last year's.

So much intrigue...  ;-)