Andrea Dovizioso completed the final track action before his competitive Repsol Honda MotoGP debut, at Qatar on April 12, with the seventh fastest lap time at the Jerez test.
With Dani Pedrosa recovering from surgery, Dovizioso was the lone factory Honda race rider present, and - whilst stating that his RC212V had improved - couldn't help but be alarmed by the 1.522sec gap to Ducati's Casey Stoner.
“During these two days of testing the machine has improved quite a lot, especially the stability and power delivery which were two important areas we were working on. My lap times on paper look reasonably good on their own, but if you compare them with Casey's, the gap we need to close is still quite big,” he said.
Whilst Dovizioso left Jerez as the top Honda rider, he was still ranked behind two Ducatis, two Yamahas and two Suzukis.
“We've made some useful improvements at this test and this is positive for the Repsol Honda Team, though there is still a sizeable gap to the fastest riders and we will keep working to close this as quickly as possible,” pledged team manager Kazuhiko Yamano. “We are not at our maximum level of potential with this machine yet. Andrea did a good job at this test and worked very hard, putting in a lot of laps.”
Test rider Kosuke Akiyoshi, standing in for Pedrosa, had a slow speed fall during the 'qualifying' session, in which he was ranked 19th and last, but was satisfied with the weekend's work.
“This was another positive day where we worked on both the chassis balance to improve the handling and the engine balance for driveability,” he said. “My pace on the first section of the lap was very good and actually nearly as fast as the quickest riders. We were losing some time however in the middle section of the lap. Towards the end of the timed session I had a fall at the hairpin which was a shame, but the overall results from this test, in spite of the rain today and yesterday, are quite good.”
“Akiyoshi also made a very valuable contribution and his input has helped us. Now we must prepare for Qatar and get ready to fight at the first race,” said Yamano.
Pedrosa will make his MotoGP comeback during Friday practice at Qatar on April 10.