MotoGP »

Q&A: Dani Pedrosa`s suspension technician.

Manuel Olivencia is Dani Pedrosa's Showa suspension technician.

2008 is Olivencia's third season in MotoGP, although he first worked with Honda back to 1998, when he was a member of the Showa racing department in the World Superbikes Championship - working with Colin Edwards and Aaron Slight.

Olivencia began working with Pedrosa in 2005, when the Repsol Honda rider was still in the 250cc category. Pedrosa was the 2006 MotoGP rookie of the year, finished second in the 2007 world championship and is currently joint second in the 2008 standings heading into this weekend's Italian Grand Prix...


Q:
First, tell us about how you got here. When and how did you start out in the world of motorcycling?

Manuel Olivencia:
A long time ago. My father was a professional motocross rider, and he later went on to be a mechanic at the world championship, so I've been to circuits since I was small. Then I started in Showa, carrying out tests at the prototype department and getting to know how suspensions work in depth. At the end of '98 I started in the Superbike racing department, with Colin Edwards and Aaron Slight. I spent three years there, and in 2002 I returned to the factory, carrying out tests in the development department. In 2003 and 2004 I went back to Superbikes with Gregorio Lavilla, Chambón and Fujiwara. Then, in 2005, I started to work with Dani in 250cc, up until today.

Q:
Can you describe what your job is like over a race weekend?

Manuel Olivencia:
We generally get to our destination on Tuesday night. On Wednesday morning, at around half eight, we get to the circuit and set up the truck, which is the base where we work, our mobile workshop. In the afternoon we get down to some office and paperwork, and have a meeting with the chief mechanic -Mike Leitner- and the rest of the team, where we comment on how the grand prix may develop and think about all the possibilities we could try out. We decide on what will go out and race on Friday. On Thursday we do the more mechanical side of things, which is preparing the suspension. On Friday the training sessions kick off and we fine tune what we'd prepared with comments from the rider.

Q:
Do you use data from previous years? What references do you start off with?

Manuel Olivencia:
It depends mainly on the development during the current season, and the trend coming from the previous race, while always backed with data collected from previous years. Mainly for the problems that might arise and to always be prepared, because in an hour of training the reactions have to be very fast, you don't have time to try out a lot of things. That's why in this meeting we try to anticipate any possibilities, to be as prepared as possible for any situation.

Q:
How many suspension units do you have for each race?

Manuel Olivencia:
We have three forks and three shock absorbers ready for each rider, apart from all the possible spares we have in the truck. What's more, every few kilometres we do what's called a complete service, which means completely dismantling the fork or damper, changing all the friction joints, valves, oil, etc. It's all revised and left as good as new.

Q:
Everyone knows what a shock absorber is, but, broadly speaking, how does it work and what are its most important elements?

Manuel Olivencia:
Basically a shock absorber is composed of two groups, a spring and a hydraulic part. The part with the spring is what holds the weight of the bike, gives it its position, and the hydraulic part - which is the inserted rod - counteracts the force of the spring.

Q:
How psychological is your job? There is always talk about riders who, on specific occasions, have more need for that fictitious 'click' in their suspension than real changes to the adjustment...

Manuel Olivencia:
In my experience I haven't had riders who needed a 'psychological click'. Well, I had a Japanese rider who always needed something done when he was on the grid. But it's generally not the case. Today - I've been with Dani a few years now - you see that the more confident the rider feels, the less psychology he needs. If he need a click, it's because he really needs it to improve the bike, I don't believe in a psychological click, though it may possibly be the case with some riders. It is not with Dani. What's more, at 330 km/h you can't play around with psychology much. They're professionals who know what they have, what they want and what they need.

Q:



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Pedrosa, Spanish MotoGP 2008
Dani Pedrosa tests 2015 Honda (pic: Jan Starek).
Pedrosa, German MotoGP Race 2014
Pedrosa, German MotoGP Race 2014
Pedrosa, German MotoGP 2014
Marquez and Pedrosa, German MotoGP 2014
Marquez and Pedrosa, German MotoGP 2014
Marquez and Pedrosa, German MotoGP 2014
Marquez and Pedrosa, German MotoGP 2014
Michael Laverty and Pedrosa, German MotoGP 2014
Pedrosa, Marquez and Lorenzo, German MotoGP race 2014
Marquez and Pedrosa, German MotoGP race 2014
Pedrosa, German MotoGP race 2014
Pedrosa, Marquez and Lorenzo, German MotoGP race 2014
Pedrosa, German MotoGP race 2014
Marquez and Pedrosa, German MotoGP race 2014
Marquez and Pedrosa, German MotoGP race 2014
Pedrosa, German MotoGP race 2014

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.