Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa will test a ‘completely new’ factory Honda RC213V machine during a one-day test session at the Mugello circuit in Italy on Monday, MCN can reveal.
One bike for each will be flown from Japan for the test and should arrive at the Mugello circuit on Saturday.
Honda boss Shuhei Nakamoto confirmed to MCN in Mugello this morning that the new bike has been designed with the aim at fixing chatter problems that have dogged Stoner and Pedrosa all season.
The introduction of a softer rear tyre option from Bridgestone for 2012 significantly improved initial warm-up performance but left HRC with severe chatter.
And a new softer front tyre that became the standard option from Bridgestone at Silverstone has been blasted by Stoner and Pedrosa for creating front-end chatter.
Nakamoto said he hoped the new RC213V was a step forward to solving the chatter issues. But it has been hard to gauge in private tests when test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi has evaluated the bike at Suzuka, Twin Ring Motegi and Sugo, chatter has never been a factor.
He told MCN: “We will have a completely new machine to test on Monday. There will be one each for Dani and Casey. It is a completely new design. This machine will arrive on Saturday. We have no time to use it this weekend but we will test on Monday.
"It looks quite similar but there are a lot of changes. We don’t know if this direction is good or not to fix the chatter because in Japan it is very difficult to have chatter. We have tested in Suzuka, Motegi and Sugo but with the testing rider we have not had chatter there.
"We are not sure until Casey or Dani test if this will improve the chatter. Maybe this can help for the chatter or for the handling. To fix the chatter problem we have lost cornering performance.
"Casey likes one machine but it has a lot of chatter. Then he tries another machine that has less chatter but worse cornering performance. Finally Casey chose the one with less chatter so even if he loses cornering performance then overall it is better.
"I am very excited to see this bike in the Monday test.”
The bike won’t be visually radically different to the current RC213V but underneath the fairing would be completely new, said Nakamoto.
If the Mugello test was a big success though Nakamoto said it was possible but difficult for Stoner and Pedrosa to have two of the new spec machines each for the forthcoming US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca in California.
“Laguna could be a little bit difficult but we will try. If both riders say this is a very good machine and they want it I will be happy. I will think about that later but first we need to see if this is the correct direction or not.”
HRC said it is also looking for performance gains from the new RC213V in its bid to win the inaugural 1000cc world championship.
The new engine is more powerful and Nakamoto was also optimistic of an improvement in drivability.
He added: “The engine is also a new one. Power is a little bit better and I hope also drivability but this area with the test rider and GP rider is different because the revs are different.
"The lap time difference is minimum three seconds and this is mainly cornering speed, so engine revs is different.”
Honda rolled out a new chassis for Stoner during the recent Dutch TT in Assen but the double MotoGP world champion didn’t even take it off the back of the Repsol Honda truck at last weekend’s Sachsenring race in Germany.
The 26-year-old said: “The chassis at Assen wasn't something completely new; it was just an idea we were trying. It wasn't a big new thing to fix all the problems.
"We just thought we would give it a shot but it didn't do anything better than the standard chassis. It didn't turn better and it didn't have any less chatter so we might as well stay with what we have. Now we'll go in another direction."
Stoner and Pedrosa have won four races between them in 2012 but Jorge Lorenzo still leads the championship having won four times on board Yamaha’s impressive factory YZR-M1.
Lorenzo goes into this weekend’s Mugello race with a 14-point lead over Pedrosa.