Honda has given Dani Pedrosa a vote of confidence, despite the Spaniard’s inability to seriously threaten Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner’s domination of MotoGP.
With rumours already rife that Honda’s patience has been pushed to breaking point by Pedrosa’s lack of success, Japanese management at least publicly remain unwavering in their support for the 23-year-old.
And in a shock move, HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto exonerated Pedrosa from any blame for Honda’s dismal record in the 800cc era.
Pedrosa has won only four 800cc MotoGP races compared to the 17 won by Ducati’s Stoner and the 14 by reigning world champion Rossi.
But Nakamoto told MCN: said: “The reason why Dani couldn’t get the championship is the machine level is not good enough. For the last two years, the bike was not a good level and our 800cc machine has missed something.
"My feeling is that the machine is not good enough to win the championship, not the rider. I think Dani’s potential is enough to win the championship, but my feeling is that the machine is not good enough, not the rider.”
Further shifting any blame for Honda’s continued lack of success in the premier class, he added: “If we don’t win the title in 2009, it is Honda’s responsibility, not Dani’s.”