The Estrella Galicia 0,0 team made the switch to Honda Moto3™ machinery ahead of the 2014 World Championship, meaning plenty of work for the mechanics responsible for setting up the race packages of Alex Rins and Alex Marquez.
During winter testing the team received evolving machinery from Honda in preparation for the new season and although they may not have been on the pace from the word go by the time it came to racing in Qatar the bikes were clearly ready for serious competition.
Such was KTM’s dominance in 2013 the challenge to be competitive from round one was clear. However, Rins took pole at Losail by 0.152s from Marquez and by nearly 0.4s from his closest rival on a KTM – Jack Miller in third place on the grid.
A poor start to the race for Rins hindered his progress, but he was just over 0.5s from the podium, whilst Marquez missed out on victory by just 0.283s in second. So how has the team managed this new chapter from a technical perspective?
Rins’ chief mechanic Carlos Perez spoke to motogp.com on the work undertaken in recent months, stating, "It wasn’t an easy job over the winter, partly because of the new bike and also we had pretty bad luck with the weather at quite a few tests. Then in Rins’ case he hurt his hand and had to have an operation, so we only ran 1100km with the bike in the preseason."
Perez continued, "We had a clear plan which we stuck to closely and the bike evolved a lot during the tests. We got the last version of the engine at the last Jerez test. We’re all really happy with the work Honda are doing and we were just waiting to see how competitive it could be. We saw in Qatar that with more laps for the rider and the team we can find the best setting for races."
Meanwhile, comparing the situation to that which he encountered in 2013, when the team had changed from a Suter Honda to a KTM package, Perez explained, "We had a similar situation last year because we were adapting to a new bike, although in that case we had more time to work with it in preseason, but anyway we had to work hard during the Qatar weekend to be in the best shape for the race. Clearly now we have different ammunition to other manufacturers and at various circuits that will give us advantages or disadvantages depending on the track’s characteristics."
Finally, asked about moving manufacturer the year before the regulations in Moto3 change to reduce maximum engine RPM (crankshaft speed) from 14,000 rpm now, to 13,500 rpm for 2015, Perez commented, "It’s always good to build up your experience with the bike, we can work with it this year to see how it functions and then next year we will have a new motor as the new rule will limit revs to 13,500 (RPM). So we have more time to work. This is a new project which will take time for everything to gel."