Alberto Puig: “We aren’t going to Qatar with our heads down”

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Dani Pedrosa’s Repsol Honda Team Manager is positive about the start of the new season and states that MotoGP is “a stamina Championship”.

Just over a week away from the first race of the MotoGP season Alberto Puig has said that despite the problems encountered by Dani Pedrosa in the pre-season Tests, particularly in Qatar, there is still great confidence amongst the team and rider before the start of the campaign.

“As with every year, we have to be prepared for a long new season,” started the Team Manager of Pedrosa in the Repsol Honda set-up, before turning his attention to the opening round at Losail. “Qatar is the first race but at the end this is an endurance Championship of eight or nine months, and we have to be prepared for that. We’re going to Qatar to begin this contest of stamina.”

In 2009 Pedrosa finished the night race in 11th position as he entered the campaign carrying an injury from the pre-season. Puig continued: “Yes, last year we were physically depleted when we started; the rider went out injured and we couldn’t improve that. This year at least we arrive at the first race with a rider in good condition, and that’s already better. That was our aim in pre-season: to start without any problems with the rider.”

Now that Pedrosa approaches the first race in good physical shape, the issue in pre-season has been the performance in the Tests on board the RC212V.

Puig said: “Obviously we want the bike to be at its best and the rider to have the most comfortable feeling with it, but so far it has been Testing. That may give an indication of what it will be like on the track for the race, but it’s not something decisive. What really counts is what happens on Sunday – race night – in Qatar.”

Pedrosa’s Team Manager says he can not say if rivals Yamaha and Ducati are now a step ahead of the 2010 Honda prototype. He commented: “I do not know, I don’t ride the bikes. I see the times and those that have registered them are fast. We have different things to test, and maybe we have to do that during the Grand Prix weekend, but the one thing I can say is that we’re not going to Qatar with our heads down at all. In every race we go out to win, the mentality of the official Honda team is to win races and we go to Qatar to do the best for the team and us.”

Faced with problems with the rear of the bike and instability in the new RC212V throughout Testing, Pedrosa’s performance at the most recent outing in Qatar caused some concerns as he finished 13th on the timesheet at 1.5s off Casey Stoner’s leading lap time. Other riders on the same prototype, such as Andrea Dovizoso (third) and Randy de Puniet (seventh) were far more satisfied with how the bike felt, and when asked if the problems encountered by Pedrosa were common to all RC212V riders, Puig said:

“I can’t say because I don’t know if these problems were experienced by others, and I’m not concerned by that. I know what problems we had and we intend to solve them as best we can during the weekend. We are dealing with different elements, and we’re going to see if we can put everything in place and overcome these small problems we’re having.”

On the arrival of a host of new riders in the premier class in 2010 and the possible changes in the order, Puig remained pragmatic.

“We must concentrate on our rider and bike. If we are focused we’ll go out and give the maximum each race, then we’ll see who can be up there. It could be the same as last year or with some new riders, but the aim remains the same: to be as high as possible, regardless of who is in front.”

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