THE LONG ROAD TO REDEMPTIO
Dani Pedrosa looked like the man to beat at the end of 2015, but after struggling in winter testing his 2016 challenge has faded before it’s even begun Valencia 2015 - 3rd Sepang 2016 - 11th 8th Phillip Island 2016 - Qatar 2016 - 10th
fter his renaissance during the second half of 2015, Dani Pedrosa looked like a man set to continue his redemption by fighting for the title in 2016. With new Michelin tyres to suit his high-cornerspeed 250GP riding style and less electronic restraints, Pedrosa was widely being viewed as the dark horse of the forthcoming season.
But on the verge of the season opener in Qatar, that promise looks to have fallen apart after a winter of nightmare testing where he has struggled to get to grips with the latest generation Honda RC213V, leaving him devoid of confidence.
Making his lack of pace even harder to swallow is the fact that after he returned from careersaving arm pump surgery he was a revelation taking two wins in controlling fashion.
“Last year I finished very strong, but unfortunately now the technical situation is very different. We are struggling with the new combination, and we are not as fast as we were last year at the end of the season. We need to step up and we need more time. Maybe we don’t start as strong as we finish, but we will try to do the best we can.
“We know we are not in the best shape, it is a shame, but we need to accept it and try to work
Afor the first race and just try and get the best result we can from there. We don’t know how much we can do from where we are.”
Trying to remain upbeat but left visibly frustrated and terse after the final day of pre-season testing in Qatar, Pedrosa admitted that while the team have now started to come to grips with the troublesome new electronics, fixing one issue simply revealed another to them.
“For me, the problems at this moment are more with the chassis – making the bike go round the corners faster; we are losing a lot of corner speed. We need to make some changes, to test some things. We don’t know how much ground we can gain, but we have to be as positive as possible to try and gain some.”
With such a negative testing programme, though, Pedrosa says he knew what to expect at the Qatar test – on a track he admits to having no great love for.
“Qatar is not my favourite circuit; I always struggle and I’ve never won here, which should tell you that it is not my favourite!
“With all of the data obtained in the last few tests, the technicians back in Japan will work to try to make some changes ahead of the first Grand Prix. We’ll see if they are favourable, and if they will help us get some better performance for the race.”
now we must try to make more laps and try to understand better.”
Honda also settled on the spec of their engine, finally deciding on what model will be sealed for the season ahead of the Qatar race, as per Motogp rules banning in-season engine development.
Engineered to be less aggressive than the 2015 model, Honda boss Livio Suppo admitted that the late decision has affected much of their testing.
“The new engine has different characteristics, and we probably need to work on that now. Unfortunately, this winter we lost many days when the electronics were not working.
“Now the bikes are not 100% but it’s much better, and now we can start to improve the set-up. Unfortunately, this winter we have tested so many changes that it hasn’t been easy.”
‘Marquez told MCN the wings changed the characteristics
of the bike’