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Interview with Shuhei Nakamoto

“The new transmission is an improvement. However, Aoyama on the satellite bike doesn't have this new transmission and he is still very strong” – Shuhei Nakamoto.
An interview with HRC Executive Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto, supplied by Honda.

What happened in Japan is devastating, and we are all hoping that the recovery process will be as fast as possible. What is the situation for HRC - how will this disaster effect the racing activities this coming year?

Shuhei Nakamoto:
For sure the situation is very difficult in Japan, and our thoughts are with all the people directly involved. As HRC, we have been lucky with no big problems, even if now it is difficult to work at our head office - we can work only five hours per day due to the power restrictions put in place.

Also access to the office is very difficult - the main train cannot reach Asakadai station - the closest to our office, and it is very complicated to reach work with only 50% of trains operating. Because of this situation many people try to come by car, but now the traffic is incredibly heavy and is taking up to 3 hours to reach HRC, instead of only 1 and it's hard to get petrol as petrol stations are closed.

Another problem is related to our suppliers. Many of them cannot work at the moment, and this is a potential problem for the racing activities in the coming weeks. So far we have all spare parts we need for Qatar and Jerez races, but after that, if the situation will not change, we will have to manage this carefully.

Anyway, everybody in Japan is trying their best to fix the situation and we hope all together we will solve all problem as soon as possible.

Motegi race has been postponed until October? Do you know anything about the situation there?

Shuhei Nakamoto:
This was definitely the correct decision. Motegi has some circuit and grandstand damage. It will take some weeks to repair everything but I believe Motegi Circuit will do a good job soon.

We can imagine that at this time, racing certainly isn't a priority. However, the Winter Testing has been very promising for Honda. With 8 days of testing in 2011 there has always been a Honda rider leading the timing sheets. What is the secret behind this?

Shuhei Nakamoto:
No secret! We keep the concept from last year's machine and we improved many small things in many different areas, step-by-step. It is just a mix of good riders and good bike, also the new transmission that we have started to use is an improvement. However, Aoyama on the satellite bike doesn't have this new transmission and he is still very strong so it means the bike as a whole is simply getting stronger.

The only Honda Rider struggling is Tony Elias, what is HRC doing to assist him?

Shuhei Nakamoto:
Of course we know Tony is a fast rider, he has proved this winning a MotoGP race in 2006 and also claiming the Moto2 title last year - there is no doubt in his talent. He has a particular riding style, and we are trying to help him to get better traction and temperature with the rear tyre. In this test in Qatar he used a modified chassis and we hope this will help him find a good feeling soon.

How about our competitors?

Shuhei Nakamoto:

Tagged as: Yamaha , Qatar , Sepang , Shuhei Nakamoto

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March 15, 2011 6:07 PM
Last Edited 2235 days ago

speaking as a "european", it would be great to see a Japanese rider come good in the near future, theyve had some real sh!tty losses in the past decade. Be nice to see their hard work and devotion pay off!

Hobbes - Unregistered

March 15, 2011 7:10 PM

@cyclopathic Your "maths" leaves something to be desired, from and engineering perspective... The time that you are off the gas is not simply added to your lap time - that would only be the case if you were standing still during the change. In reality, taking slightly longer for the shift will mean you build up a bit less speed, much like being slightly down on power. (If total time on power between 2 corners is 5 seconds, and you lose 40 ms three times, it would be like being (120/5000) or about 2.4% down on power). If you consider that bikes with 50% less power (e.g. 125 vs 250) are only a few seconds slower per lap, a difference of few percent is unlikely to matter more than a fraction of a second.

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