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Cecchinello: "I think it will be an exciting championship"

Cecchinello: 'I think it will be an exciting championship'

LCR Honda Team Manager Lucio Cecchinello talks exclusively to ahead of the Phillip Island test about the 2016 MotoGP™ season.

The 2016 MotoGP™ season marks the 21st year that LCR have competed in the premier-class. This season they line up on the grid with just one rider, Cal Crutchlow, and caught up with Cecchinello in Milan ahead of the Phillip Island test:

How has Cal been preparing for the 2016 season?
“Every rider has his own training routine which generally is based around running, cycling, and gym work for strength. Cal likes riding off road, but his main passion is cycling and he focuses his training around that. Cycling can be very useful for a MotoGP rider as in addition to strengthening the leg muscles you also train your arms, you get used to being in the saddle plus you are in the same position as when riding so it helps to strengthen the neck muscles.”

Cal set the fourth fastest time on the final day (6th overall) of the recent Sepang test, how do you feel it went overall?
“The test in Malaysia went a lot better than we thought it would. One of the issues we were worried about was integrating the new electronics with the Honda. It is true that we have a big problem and the bike is still not there yet, but a great job was done by the team and HRC and from the first to the last day, we made a big step forward. The time of Cal on the final day proves this. He set the fourth best time on the hard tires and was just one-tenth of a second behind Marquez. That is a tiny margin, and we can be very satisfied.”

Did you get to try the 2016 RC213V?
“We did not get to try the full new bike, they are still deciding on what parts to promote or reject for the final bike. HRC are evolving the bike step-by-step to avoid the mistakes of last year and avoid the risk of having non-competitive bike. Therefore in Malaysia we tried an evolution of the 2015 chassis, an evolution of the 2015 engine and also the 2016 spec engine. We also tried out new suspension, in others words, we worked a lot on developing the bike from where it was last year to try and find the best setup for our rider. Ourselves and HRC will carry on this work in Australia to try and improve further the balance between chassis, power, control and stability that we reached on the final day in Sepang.”

How do you see the technical changes affecting the championship this year?
“I think it will be a hard fought and exciting championship! The changes to the regulations, especially the electronics, make it a more level playing field; Ducati and Suzuki will be able to close the gap even more to Honda and Yamaha. However I do see Lorenzo, Rossi, Marquez and Pedrosa as the top four riders who will fight for the championship and if Stoner was to show up on the start line in Qatar too, he would be the fifth.”

What about Cal?
“Our situation is slightly harder to predict as we cannot take too much from the Sepang test and will have to wait until the next ones in Phillip Island and Qatar to be more certain about what we can achieve. The goal remains to score as many podiums as possible. I think two, three of even four podiums is a possibility. For this to happen we would need something to happen or for the factory guys to have some problems at some races, as the four riders I have already mentioned are very hard to beat, even for someone as good as Cal. Realistically our target is to be fighting for between fifth and seventh in the races with the aim of trying to secure fifth or sixth in the World Championship, and perhaps in special circumstances, make it onto the podium.”

MotoGP, 2016, Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda

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