During the Sepang test Repsol Honda team director Kazuhiko Yamano and RC212V project leader Shinichi Kokubu sat down with the press to talk about the forthcoming MotoGP season.
“The base spec of all six bikes is the same,” revealed Yamano. “Of course the factory machine has some different parts. Mainly electronics. If these new electronics give a good result then we will give them to all the satellite riders later.
“We have developed the new electronics ourselves in-house. We started last year, before the Yamaha guys began work here.
“There is no firm development plan in place for the satellite teams. It will be a case-by-case basis. We will look at the situation,” Yamano added.
Honda has now joined the rest of the MotoGP field in using Ohlins suspension, instead of Showa.
“Andrea started using Ohlins last year. The target is to use the Bridgestone tyre more. To get a better match between the chassis, suspension and tyre,” said Yamano.
When asked if he thought the Bridgestone tyres suited Ohlins better last year because that was what most riders were using, Yamano replied “Yes.”
After introducing an engine-change limit for the last seven rounds of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship, only six engines will be allowed per rider for the whole 18-round 2010 season.
“We already started working with the new regulations last year. This year there is not a big change inside the engine, honestly,” said Kokubu. “Power is the same as last year, [the engine changes] were mostly about putting more mileage.”
“Top end power was okay, but we have worked on more driveability,” commented Yamano.
“It is so difficult to develop the bike now,” he added. “Only six engines. Two years ago it was free, so it was easy to make big changes to the engine, firing order or something. But this year if we try to make a big step and the engine breaks then it will damage the team and rider. But he [Kokubu] is clever, so no problem!”
“This is the regulation so we must prepare for it,” said Kokubu. “If we had more engines then sure, it is more easy to develop. Ideally I would like no limits. But there is a different engineering challenge now, for reliability, which can help road bikes.”
Meanwhile, the engine itself has been moved lower in the chassis.