The Go&Fun Gresini Honda team is issuing a technical debrief with its race engineers after every MotoGP round this season. Below appears the thoughts of Antonio Jimenez and Diego Gubellini, crew chiefs to Alvaro Bautista and Scott Redding respectively, on the first race of the season at Qatar:
QATAR MOTOGP DEBRIEF WITH ANTONIO JIMENEZ AND DIEGO GUBELLINI
The first Grand Prix of the season, at the floodlit Losail International Circuit, didn’t finish in the best way for Alvaro Bautista, who crashed on lap 21 whilst challenging for a podium position aboard the Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda RC213V. Nevertheless, the Spaniard has been an absolute protagonist of the race weekend from the first free practice session, missing the pole position in qualifying by just 57 thousandths of a second and setting the fastest lap of the race in 1’55”575.
Seventh placed and first among the riders riding an Open class Honda RCV1000R, Scott Redding made an impressive MotoGP debut in Qatar, delivering a determined ride thanks to a different chassis geometry that allowed him to improve his feeling with the front end. After an aggressive start, the British rookie adopted a prudent strategy to preserve the tyres, following the most experienced Nicky Hayden, then beaten on the finish line.
Waiting to get back in action at the Circuit of the Americas, in Texas, for the next Grand Prix, let’s see in detail with our crew chiefs, Antonio Jimenez and Diego Gubellini, what kind of work they did on their machines.
ANTONIO JIMENEZ (Alvaro Bautista Crew Chief)
“In this first Grand Prix of the year we’ve been able to take advantage of the good things that had emerged during the winter testing, improving at the same time some other aspects. Since the first free practice session Alvaro felt at ease; in qualifying we missed the pole position for a few thousandths and we were ready to do a good race, thanks to a very consistent bike, even with regard to the use of the tyres. Sunday we have proved it: Alvaro, despite losing some positions at the start, managed to recover, placing himself in the leading group . We couldn’t finish the race, but we leave Qatar with a good feeling, knowing that we have a winning package: we have battled with the best and we have made the most of the new Bridgestone tyres, so I think we can be competitive also in the next Grand Prix. The Honda RC213V is very fast and we have achieved an excellent level of performance in all areas. We're good with electronics, both in terms of power delivery and engine brake, but I would say that the biggest step forward has been done on the suspension side. This is our third year of collaboration with Showa and we are reaping the fruits of the excellent work done in the first two seasons together. Compared to the end of 2013, we had made a further step ahead with the introduction of the new rear shock, at the last Sepang test. During this race we only suffered a slight problem with the brakes, which had never occurred in practice: we will work together with Nissin to improve this aspect. Finally, the consumption: we were able to manage really well the 20 litres of fuel working on engine mappings, limiting the sliding of the rear wheel. Unfortunately, we didn’t finish the race, but two laps from the end the situation was under control. We are satisfied: having shown a good performance on a track traditionally difficult for us is not a coincidence”.
DIEGO GUBELLINI (Scott Redding Crew Chief)
“During practice we have been working on the chassis set-up, looking for a better feeling with the front end. In particular, we had already prepared a bike - Scott’s RCV1000R number 2 - with a shorter wheelbase, obtained by approaching both the front and the rear wheel, thereby keeping the same weight balance as the other bike. We tried it casually during Qualifying 1, following a problem with a sensor on the front wheel of the bike number 1, which we’ve been using throughout the weekend till that moment. Scott immediately loved this different geometry: in fact, it helps him to reduce the problems of feeling with the front end and as a result he improved his lap times by about half a second. Finally, I was surprised by the strategy that Scott has taken in the race: very aggressive in the early stages, he later worked a lot on his riding style in order to preserve the tyres, as we used the soft rear tyre available fort the Open class”.