The Repsol Honda duo of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa have raced their new carbon fibre swinging arm for the first time in Sunday’s opening race of the 2018 MotoGP season. The team have been developing the new component throughout winter testing but have been downplaying the possibility of racing it just yet.
In fact, speaking on Friday after the opening day of practice, Pedrosa maintained that they hadn’t even planned to try out the new part during the weekend, let alone use it in Sunday’s race.
“In this moment we didn’t try it, and it isn’t on the plan to use it. There are some differences when you use it – the initial feeling is very different. But when you start to push, at the end it is the same feeling but in a different way – it’s very hard to explain! It’s like the movement is similar, but the way of moving is different, and the reaction from the throttle and the grip change a little too. There’s some positives and some negatives to it, but I think our experience with it is still low as a rider and as a team. For the future, it’s good to be working on it.”
However, while Pedrosa and Marquez have now raced the component, British rider Cal Crutchlow, on a similarly-specced RC213V machine, is still to try out the part. Already in use by Ducati since 2009, there are concerns that the move to carbon for frame components could prove exorbitantly expensive for satellite teams like Crutchlow’s LCR Honda thanks to how easily damaged they are in crashes.
But with MCN’s sources adamant that Honda’s new component gives a significant boost to consistency and lap times, then it might only be a matter of time before we see the parts reach Crutchlow – something that won’t have been harmed by an impressive ride to fourth ahead of Pedrosa in Sunday’s race.