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The 2010 pre-season is advancing at record speed and getting the most out of the time available is the challenge of Andrea Dovizioso.
After checking the enhancements Honda has prepared for this season, the Repsol rider has satisfactorily completed the second two-day test in Malaysia, although he is aware that they need to advance a step further to start the World Championship among the favourites for the title.
First of all, congratulations on becoming a father... how do you ride at 300km/h knowing that little Sara is waiting for you at home?
“It is something about that I thought when I heard the news, but I'm young and very focused on what I want to achieve, so I didn't think that it was going to change me, and that's how it's been. I'm very focused on my work and it's not a problem. To be honest, it's an experience that can only go well for me.”
It is harder for you to spend more time away from home now?
“We've just started the championship, so not yet, but maybe later on. She was born in mid-December, so I've been training for two and a half months, but also spending time with my daughter and her mother."
Let's talk about bikes. You had a good start to the year here a few weeks ago, and over the last two days you have confirmed that you are moving in the right direction... Are you satisfied with the work that Honda has done over the winter?
“I'm very happy because they have worked really hard and it was important for the factory to understand the modifications that had to be made and above all, because it's been confirmed that this work has been well done. It's also true that we can't stop at what has been done and that we must improve more, because we aren't fast enough, but I'm happy.”
Did you ask HRC for a lot of changes after the first test in Sepang?
“Yes many things, because there wasn't enough time in the first test to check everything. They have made changes, even my position on the machine, which seems trivial, but it can change the performance a lot. With these changes we are heading in the direction that we think is the right one. Problems arise, but that's normal and we are trying to resolve them.”
Have you received all that material?
“Yes, and I'm very happy with the work they've done, although there is still more to do.”
What lies ahead for the Qatar test?
“I don't know yet, because we have to talk to the team. The Qatar Circuit is very special and therefore, what happens there will not be very indicative, but we want to do better than here. We will do the tests and see our potential because we have had two tests in Sepang on a track that I like and we'll need to see our level there.”
What level of evolution do you think the new machine has reached?
“Everything depends on the Bridgestone tyres because it is an extremely important aspect. If you don't build a machine that makes the most of them, you can ride however you want but you won't win. So, the work on is focused on that.”
Are you happy with the new Ohlins suspension?
“Yes, I felt comfortable straight away, although the machine is different to last year's. We don't have any serious problems and these tests have confirmed the solutions, because the solutions we had found for certain problems have fixed them.”
What are the strong points of the Honda RC212V 2010 and what needs improving?
“It's easier to ride than last year's machine, which is the most important thing. It is more balanced and a little easier to control, but that is still its weakest point because it's not easy enough. The 800cc MotoGP machines need to be easy to ride to the limit, not like the 990cc, which were so powerful and heavy that you skidded and that was normal. These machines need you to be very accurate and must be easy to control in order to maintain the pace.”
“The machine is fast, but it's not easy to clock up good times and that's a big problem for today's MotoGP machines. As well as being a little faster, that's where Valentino's (Rossi) advantage is, because they don't seem to have to make such an effort to get good times and they can maintain them more easily. It's important to become more consistent and then we'll focus on that little bit of extra speed we need.”
Have any of the rookies surprised you in these tests?
“Here; not really. In Valencia, Spies surprised me, but I haven't seen him much here.”
This season there will be five Italians in MotoGP, with Simoncelli joining a Honda satellite team; is it something that affects you in any way?
“No, it's nice. Last year, there were five of us and it's nice that there are so many Italians, especially riders that I've known since I rode in mini-motos.”
Will you be ready in time for the first race of the season; the team, the machine and you?
“We'll have to do the Qatar test to know for sure. I can't say that it's ready to win but we will be ready earlier and better than last year. Many things change during the season because everything is different in the races. We're much better prepared than a year ago and I'm very happy about that. It's not enough to be able to say that I'm going to play for the World Championship, but it's what we are working for.”
How did the new machine perform in the race simulation you held today?
“I did 16 or 17 laps and it wasn't perfect, because the conditions were very extreme. For the rider, it's important to do a simulation because they are very tough conditions and secondly, the performance of the machine changes a lot and many different problems arise.”
Press release courtesy of Repsol Media
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