Honda determined to win final 800cc crown

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Honda boss Shuhei Nakamoto has spoken of his desire and determination to win the final 800cc MotoGP crown in 2011 at the launch of the Repsol Honda squad in Malaysia tonight.

Speaking at a special presentation at the Pan Pacific Hotel near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Nakamoto unveiled the new factory RC212V and revealed some of the new team structure changes implemented to try and help HRC win its first world title since 2006.

Honda will launch a three-pronged attack on the MotoGP crown in 2011 with Aussie Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso heading the challenge and Nakamoto said: “We have three strong riders this year and every year we say we want to win the championship.

"But this year I want to say again that we want to win the championship. We think for the second half of last season our package of machine and rider was getting stronger and was competitive.

"We have used the base of last year’s bike for 2011 but Honda is Honda and we never stop development. We have tried to improve the chassis and electronic systems.

"With the chassis we have tried to improve in the braking stability area and with electronics we still need to improve the power delivery and engine characteristic. Honda is pushing as hard as ever.”

One key change that Stoner, Dovizioso and Pedrosa will all have access to two electronic engineers as Honda aims to find a set-up much quicker at the track.

Each has their own electronics engineer and data analyst to work on the key area of electronics this season.

Shinichi Kokubu remains in the position of HRC Technical Director, which was created last season to improve communication between the on-track crew and staff back at Honda headquarters in Japan working on new parts.

Touching on the issue of how the Repsol Honda squad will operate in terms of pit boxes in 2011, Nakamoto said that at 15 rounds, Stoner, Pedrosa and Dovizioso would all operate out of the same box with no dividing wall splitting the trio.

In the three races where there will be the requirement for a split garage, it will be Stoner who will operate alone.

The delicate issue of data sharing was also talked about. It has been no secret in the past of Pedrosa’s reluctance to have his data freely available but Nakamoto added: “Some data will be shared but not all. They are team-mates but at the same time they are competitors, so some data won’t be shared.

Looking ahead to this week’s first major test of the 2011 pre-season in Malaysia, Nakamoto said: “At this test all three will have different material.

"The material is very similar but Dani will start with last year’s chassis and engine and then he will test this year’s prototype. But Casey and Andrea will start with this year’s prototype. For the second Sepang test we will decide based on the findings of this week.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt