After evaluating two different chassis designs for his Honda RC212V, at Jerez and then Sepang, new factory rider Andrea Dovizioso has decided to stick with the older design.
Dovizioso used the older chassis on his way to sixth position on day one in Malaysia, then compared the old and new designs during day two - when he was eighth fastest.
“I had already tried both the old and new chassis at Jerez [in November], but we compared them again here because it is the best track to understand exactly what the difference between them is,” the Italian told Crash.net
at the end of day two. “We need to have a meeting now to decide which way to follow, because the new chassis is a little bit better during braking but is worse on corner exit.”
The outcome of that team meeting was a decision to go with the older chassis design.
“We have fixed the line to follow for the season,” said Repsol Honda team manager Kazuhiko Yamano.
Dovizioso then repeated his eighth position during the third and final day of testing, leaving him 0.9sec from the top and half a second behind Toni Elias, also riding a factory Honda but for the satellite Gresini team.
With only five days of testing remaining before the start of the 2009 MotoGP season, Dovizioso listed the strengths and weaknesses of his machine as follows:
“The engine is much, much better than what I had last year in terms of power, but the delivery is too aggressive. In terms of the chassis the stability on the front is much better than last year, but still we have a problem with stability at the rear, especially during the last part of braking.
“I think the main problem in terms of braking is the clutch,” he revealed.
Dovizioso said he thinks team-mate Dani Pedrosa feels the same about the bike, but isn't sure.
Meanwhile, making things more complicated for Dovizioso is that he spent his debut premier-class season on Michelin tyres, at JiR Team Scot.
“One of our problems is that we come from Michelin. So we don't know exactly how the chassis and Bridgestone tyres need to work together,” said Andrea, who made his MotoGP podium debut with third in October's Malaysian Grand Prix. “The casing of the Michelin was very soft, but with Bridgestone it is harder so it is difficult to put enough weight on the tyre. It is almost the opposite of the Michelin.”
Pedrosa, who switched to Bridgestone for the final five rounds of last season, left the Sepang test one day early due to pain from his left knee, which he injured at Phillip Island and had surgery on in December. Pedrosa was the fastest Honda rider on day two, in fourth position.
The next test takes place at Qatar from March 1-3.