While Yamaha riders are still waiting to receive a much wanted seamless transmission, and Ducati is still stumbling around with their ‘not revolution, but evolution’ theories, Honda has unveiled their 2014 RC213V factory prototype at Aragon today.
Repsol Honda skipped yesterday’s test in Barcelona on Monday and headed straight to the Motorland Aragon circuit to give Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez the opportunity to test the new bike, as we reported yesterday.
This isn’t the first time that Honda has anticipated a new machine this early in the season and the Japanese manufacturer never leaves a stone unturned, if it can give them a better chance at winning the title.
Last year, they brought in the 2013 bike during the Mugello test to try to offset the chattering issues that Pedrosa and Casey Stoner were having after the weight increase and the introduction of a softer spec front tire.
Dani Pedrosa began racing the new machine at Laguna Seca, and then went on to win six out of the eight remaining races of the season, when before the 2013 bike he had only won one.
Dani Pedrosa may not have won his 200th Grand Prix in Catalunya, but the Repsol Honda veteran was only mildly disappointed with his second place.
The track conditions were extreme and considering that the front of his Honda continued to close on him when he was hitting the corner apex whenever he pushed, he was content to finish second and keep his lead in the standings.
“Today was a bit of a strange race. We could not get maximum performance and physically it was very hard, because of the heat of the bike and the tyres. When I tried to open the throttle the bike wobbled in the front and I had to be very careful. We three front-runners were battling the track conditions today.It was a bit disappointing not to be able to push more, since the differences between us all was minimal. We rode practically the entire race without any overtaking. It was very easy to make a mistake and in fact, on the closing laps, Marc made one and I had a slide, but in the end we were able to take a very important second place,” said Pedrosa.
Reigning World champion Jorge Lorenzo took another stunning victory - his second in a row - and his third of the season with a dominating lights-to-flag win over Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez.
Despite his stunning and record breaking qualifying lap (the race was much slower than expected due to the heat), Dani Pedrosa lost the pole position just a few yards before the end of the straight to Lorenzo who would lead the entire 25 lapper despite being pressured by the Repsol Honda riders for two third of the race.
Marc Marquez stuck to the tail of Pedrosa and in the penultimate lap tried to overtake his team mate to take second, but Pedrosa chopped back across the nose of Marquez, forcing the rookie to hit the brakes and giving his Honda a big front end shake. The slight scare didn’t stop Marquez who tried to latch onto his team mate’s rear again, but couldn’t get close enought to line up another pass and would finish just 0.090s from Pedrosa.
Valentino Rossi finished a lucky and also a very lonely fourth. Rossi was graced with spot when Cal Crutchlow crashed out losing the front of his M1 during the fifth lap, and he was lucky because Alvaro Bautista almost repeated the same pass that took himself and Rossi out of the Mugello race. Rossi resisted Bautista’s inside pass at the Caixa and the Spaniard was forced to grab his brakes sliding out and barely missing the Yamaha rider’s rear tire.
Dani Pedrosa will start his 200th career GP in Catalunya in the best possible manner, from pole position. The Repsol Honda rider’s explosive record breaking lap was completely untouchable by rest of the field, as he was more than six tenths faster than Cal Crutchlow, who grabbed the second spot on the grid.
At the moment it looks like Pedrosa also has a better pace than Jorge Lorenzo, at least a couple of tenths of a second, and no doubt he’ll have another of lightning starts and will try to clear out as fast as he can.
“I am very happy, because we put in a great lap and took a great qualifying time. It was a fantastic pole position for me. We also broke the circuit record and were able to do so in front of the home fans. I am also happy about improving our race pace, as this is the most important thing. We hope to put on a good show tomorrow and take full advantage of the front row start” said Pedrosa.
Marc Marquez will be starting from the second row in 6th for his home race and the superstar rookie has kept a rather low profile this weekend, heading the timesheets only in FP3, but his race pace is much better than it looks.
“I am fairly happy and satisfied, because we achieved our objective of getting onto either the first or second row. In the morning I felt more comfortable, with the track temperatures lower than in the afternoon. When they rose sharply, we had more problems. Despite this, I think that we have done a good job. We will try to test out a few things in the warmup tomorrow and see if we can gain a little more confidence when the track is hotter,” commented Marquez.
The third and final MotoGP free practice at Catalunya ahead of the this afternoon’s QP1 and QP2 saw a very different situation from Friday. The Honda’s as usual came roaring back as did Marc Marquez. The Repsol Honda rookie - wearing a special edition helmet with a lightning bolt design for his home race - stopped the clock in 1’41″853, lowering the record that Valentino Rossi had set just yesterday afternoon.
Ducati’s Nicky Hayden jumped to second with a soft tire and was just 0.063s from Marquez, while he broke the top speed record (341.4 km/h). Dani Pedrosa was third fastest and was the first rider to break the 1.42 barrier and he finished third and 0.134 adrift, in a very tight session that saw ten riders in less than one second.
Valentino Rossi spent the entire session testing the duration of the soft compound tires and he concluded in fourth and just 0.156s from Marquez after a last flying lap with a fresh tire. Cal Crutchlow, also used the softer option and was fifth, ahead of Jorge Lorenzo (also wearing a special helmet design) who lost the front of his M1 and suffered a crash at the Seat turn (corner 5) - his first error of the season.
MotoGP standings leader Dani Pedrosa will be making his 200th Grand Prix appearance at Catalunya this weeken,d and no doubt the Repsol Honda rider will try to maintain the lead, but also try to beat Jorge Lorenzo who has a much better win ratio at the Spanish circuit.
Pedrosa has won only once at the circuit and that was back in 2008, and he’ll also have to contend with his team mate Marc Marquez, who will be more focused than ever, and will want to make up that DNF at Mugello.
“Mugello was a tricky weekend but in the end to come away with second place and 20 Championship points is a good result,” said Pedrosa. “I’ve been able to rest a little since returning from Italy and now we head to my home Grand Prix in Catalunya, still leading the World Championship. This track is one of the circuits where you stay on the edge of the tyre longer and also a long time turning right so it’s important to have a good feeling with the tyres. In general it’s a nice track and with a very special atmosphere, all my family and friends come to support me and the fans are incredible. Hopefully the weather is good there and we can put on a good race for everyone at my 200th Grand Prix start!”
In a special Alpinestars event that was held at the Maxxess Megastore in Bordeaux, France last weekend, MotoGP rookie and the latest racing superstar Marc Marquez got to meet racing legend and three-time World Champion Freddie Spencer.
The encounter was to put Marquez and Spencer’s together after Marquez broke Spencer’s long standing record as as the youngest 500cc/MotoGP rider to win a race.
Marquez broke Spencer’s 31 year-old record during the inaugural GP at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas which was his second ever race in MotoGP and he did it at the age 20 years, 2 months, and 5 days old, while Fast Freddy was 20 years and 196 day old, when he won the 500cc Belgium Grand Prix in 1992 (he beat the record that was previously held by Mike Hailwood).
Spencer tweeted after the Austin race: “Great job to Marquez on being the youngest rider ever to win a #motogp race!! I feel very happy for Marc! Truly an incredible moment!! Best!”
During the Alpinestar event Spencer said, “It’s great. Hopefully, Marc may hold the record as long as I did; 31 years. For Marc to come along now and to perform like he has is great. Great to see, great for the sport!”
There is however one of Spencer’s record that Marquez will never be beat, like winning two different championships in the same year, as did the American rider in 1985 when he took both the 250cc and 500cc titles.
“I saw many videos and from what people explained to me, Freddie was always more or less like me, always pushing, never was enough,” said Marquez. “When you see he competed in two World Championships on a Sunday … now this I cannot imagine.”
Photo source | alpinestarsfacebook.com
In 2008 data sharing in the Repsol Honda garage between riders was very limited - at least that’s what Kazuhiko Yamano former team director said at the time. In 2011 when Honda was fielding Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso and Casey Stoner, Shuhei Nakamoto and Livio Suppo said that sharing more open than in the past, and to which Suppo added, “There is some data that is more related to the set-up of the bike and set-up of the bike can be more up to the rider. This can be an advantage sometimes, so it is correct that they can keep it.”
In a team with two riders, the first rule of competitive racing is to beat your team mate and try not to reveal any secrets, but apparently Dani Pedrosa who has never openly complained about sharing set-up data (Alberto Puig has) told Spanish Catalunya Radio, following the Italian GP, that Marquez copied his set-up for the race, which allowed him to run in second before crashing out with three laps left..
“Marc’s race was incredible after crashing so hard on Friday, and he was going very strong, but we know that he copied our set-up. They gave his team all the information that we gathered yesterday [which was Saturday] in order to improve traction and that made things easier,” said Pedrosa.
It sounds like that the veteran Honda rider is a little tired of doing all the grunt work and not getting any praise for his efforts, even if he is currently leading in the standings.
Source | as.com
Marc Marquez’s huge crash during the second free pratice during the Italian GP where he lost control of his Honda at 337.9 Km/H (209.9 Mph) and according to Alpinestars (who supplies Marquez with his airbag leathers) suffered an impact of over 25g, the MotoGP rookie almost literally walked away from the horrific high speed incident with just a scraped chin and a crack in his humerus.
The Repsol Honda rider was able to continue for the rest of the weekend - albeit with some pain and weakness in his right arm - but his total crashes for the round added up to four, including the last one that saw him lose the second spot in the race with just three laps to go.
Following the race Marquez returned home to Barcelona and immediately went to the Hospital Universitario Quiron Dexeus to see Doctor Xavier Mir to undergo further medical tests who confirmed the initial diagnosis and verified that there are no other injuries.
For 12 laps Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez were able to shadow Jorge Lorenzo and keep his pace but then on the 13th lap Lorenzo suddenly pushed the NOS button on his M1 and speed away leaving the two Repsol Honda riders almost a eight tenths behind in one single lap and to fight over the second spot on the podium.
With rear grip issues slowing him - the new Bridgestone tire for the race forced him to change his setup - Pedrosa had to contend with the unwanted attentions of his team mate who was much faster than him and with five laps to go Marquez put in a simple pass and ran away for exactly two laps but got caught out at the Savelli and crashed out for the fourth time this weekend and giving Pedrosa 20 points.
Here’s what Pedrosa said about his Mugello race: “I didn’t feel fully comfortable in the race today, but I’m happy because I was able to gain a large number of points. In general, this was a difficult weekend. The back tyre was giving me a lot of problems with grip but taking 20 points from this race and maintaining the lead the World Championship is something positive.”
Marc Marquez may have been battered and bruised, but up until the time of his race crash he certainly did not show any wear or tear, but his fall at the Savelli saw him off the podium for the first time after four rounds which is nothing short of spectacular for a rookie rider.