Nakamoto: ‘Honda production racer is delayed, but it will be good’

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

HRC Executive Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto speaks with motogp.com, explaining that the bike to be offered to private teams from next year is now in the final stages of its development and on the verge of being track tested.

HRC is currently still developing the Honda RC, which the Japanese marque is looking to offer to private outfits from the start of 2014. The machine will offer a level of power close to that of the factory bikes, but will not be fitted with pneumatic valves while gearboxes will be conventional as opposed to the ‘seamless’ systems of Repsol Honda Team. On top of this, the fuel tank capacity will be 24 litres in comparison with 20 on the official bikes and 12 engines will be available per season. The bike will run on Showa suspension.

“So far we have been working with the engine on the dyno and, once it reaches the performance we expect, we will begin the next phase which is focussed on putting the bike on the track,” Nakamoto explains to motogp.com.

“Regarding the matter of the programme having been delayed by almost a month, we are trying to shorten deadlines. From the data we have so far, I think it will be a good bike, but we must continue to work to achieve optimum levels of reliability and durability that will satisfy our customers.”

Suppliers play an important role in the development of the new bike, as Honda works closely with companies within its conglomerate - not least Nissin and Showa.

“For Nissin, which forms part of our group, development of callipers and brake master cylinders is very important and MotoGP is the ideal platform by which to develop their product,” Nakamoto continues. “The same applies to other enterprises when it comes to suspension, engines and so on. Nissin took new parts to Le Mans; the idea being that it is always (Stefan) Bradl who tries them first and, when it confirmed by him that there is an improvement, they are run by (Alvaro) Bautista who in-turn is responsible for the development of Showa suspension.”

Nakamoto also reviewed the performances of his riders following the first four races of the 2013 season: “I expected Marc (Marquez) to win a race, although I never imagined it would be the second one. That was a very pleasant surprise. Dani (Pedrosa), after failing to win in Qatar, has since regained his best strengths and won in Jerez and Le Mans. I hope it stays that way and that he can string together a good winning streak as he did last year. Regarding Stefan, he has fallen a lot and perhaps too much. We will work with the (LCR Honda MotoGP) team to ensure a change in fortunes and help him finish races.”

Nakamoto adds that his relationships with riders extend to those no longer competing in the sport, as for instance he is in regular contact with double world champion Casey Stoner who departed MotoGP™ at the end of last year. “Yes, I have talked and exchanged emails with Casey, but we basically just talked about his V8 Supercar races in Australia,” Nakamoto begins to sum up. “He is enjoying them and I think he’ll be there for a while.”

TAGS 2013

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