Andrea Dovizioso enjoyed a positive start to this season's MotoGP campaign as his Honda RC212V secured some of the fastest times at the opening testing session at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia...
And the Italian rider was delighted with the bike's performance in the three-day test, as he revealed in interview at the close of the session.
What conclusions can you draw from this first test in Sepang?
“I am very happy. We are two tenths behind the fastest, which is not a great difference, so I am satisfied with the job we have done. During the tests, our level was high and the important thing for us is to start among the best. It is very positive to see in the display that we set the second or third fastest time. I am really pleased with the bike’s performance, it is really fast and very manoeuvrable at all times. I go back home in high spirits and at ease because we are very close to the fastest riders. We are one of them. It only depends on the work of the team to find those little things we need to improve in the next test in Malaysia”.
What are your feelings about this year’s Honda RC212V?
“In these three days we learned many things about the bike. We improved the traction control, the behaviour of the bike in the corners. The only thing to improve is the braking stability. I am not talking about the front wheel, where I think we have made a good step ahead, but about the instability we have on the rear wheel. We have some shattering in the back wheel when we enter some corners. If we are able to work it out, we will be even faster. It is a positive information, because we have some margin to solve it, but in the time we have been working on it, we could not solve it completely, although we managed to make some progress”.
That shattering on the rear wheel appears only when you push to the limit?
“It depends on the corner, because there are some corners, such as the 7, where there is no need to reduce the pace, so we don't use the clutch and then the shattering is stronger. When you need to reduce two or three gears, you play with the spin of the wheels and it is difficult for the shattering to appear. It sometimes happens and sometimes doesn't and then the entrance to the corner is a little easier. But if we are able to solve the problem for corner 7, it will work in all corners, and that would be an important result”.
Dani [Pedrosa] and Casey [Stoner] have the same problem?
“Everyone in the team has the same problem. It has more or less influence depending on the clutch you use and how much traction control you use, because it depends on your style and the way you work with the clutch. It is a problem of the bike and depending on the riding style it is better or worse. For instance, I have seen some riders with Yamaha or Ducati that don't use the clutch so they have no problem and that is why the difference is important”.
What is the priority you would set for your engineers?
“As I said before, it would be to solve the shattering on the rear wheel. We need to know if it is only linked to the clutch or if the electronics have any influence. The level of the bike is really high and this is the only area we need to improve. Anyway, I am very pleased with the bike. The level is very high, some riders are really very fast, but we are only two tenths away from the fastest, so we need to think about how we can improve. For instance, I think Dani is two or three tenths quicker and he did a series of consecutive laps at a consistent pace of 2m 1s and 4 or 5 tenths, a really fast register. We are only two or three tenths behind but, after only this first test, it is not a great problem if we improve it for the following tests”.
You were strong over the three days. Have you got any doubt about the bike’s competitiveness?
“I was pretty strong, more than in other tracks, and always one or two tenths behind the first. That is why I felt optimistic. The bike is very competitive. Contrary to other years, when you have so many Honda riders in front it confirms that the bike is competitive”.