Honda happy with RC212V progress

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New HRC Technical Director Shinichi Kokubu believes Honda’s 2010 RC212V is making good progress after Andrea Dovizioso’s podium finish at the season’s opening race in Qatar.

Honda has endured a difficult winter having seen number one rider Dani Pedrosa struggle to get the best out of a new chassis and Ohlins suspension.

But Dovizioso’s top three in Qatar last weekend has given under pressure Honda staff some encouragement, with Kokubu confident that the RC212V is heading in the right direction to match the performance of Yamaha’s YZR-M1 and Ducati’s GP10.

Kokubu, a former project leader of the RC212V, said: “Results did indicate that we are on the right track, but we still need to make many more improvements including to the machine settings.

“Last year, we were a little behind our rivals in some areas like braking stability, so we basically modified the machine focusing on these weak areas.

“We ended up modifying a wide range of things. For the last few years since, say 2007, Honda has been making major changes each year, and it looks like we are making another major change this season.

“But in reality, we view these changes as an evolution in the process of modification and development.”

One pleasing aspect of the first race in Doha was the impressive top speed of the new Honda contender.

Dovizioso was able to use the superior speed to slipstream by Nicky Hayden to claim only his second podium for Repsol Honda in Qatar.

Honda seems to have suffered less than Yamaha and Ducati in tweaking its V4 motor for the new long life engine rules.

Only six engines are available per rider in 2010, meaning durability had to be doubled while trying not to lose key performance.

Kokubu added: “We haven’t made major changes in particular, but we decided that our initial target should be to secure durability without lowering performance, so we got into details and made a series of small changes.

“With the final changes, we have now reached a point where durability is secured without lowering performance.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt