The 2010 RC212V handed to Hiroshi Aoyama at the first Sepang test, earlier this month, was so different to the version he had previously tested that the MotoGP rookie had to start almost from scratch.
Not only was the new bike effectively two years newer than the ex-Gabor Talmacsi machine Aoyama had tested in late 2009, but it was also mounted on Ohlins suspension, compared with Showa on the former Team Scot bike.
Combine that with some technical problems, plus the fact that Sepang marked only the second time that the new Interwetten Honda team had all its team members in place, and it is perhaps not surprising that the last ever 250cc world champion left the test just 14th out of the 17 MotoGP riders.
“We've had a tough couple of days,” said crew chief Tom Jojic, speaking exclusively to Crash.net
. “The first impression of the new bike wasn't particularly positive, but having visited Honda when they were building the bike I already had a plan of which direction to go in.”
Most frustrating of all for Aoyama was that his best lap time, a 2min 3.195sec, was well behind the 2min 2.3sec he had recorded on the Scot bike during his rookie test at Sepang in December.
“I think he was quite disappointed because he expected to come here and so the same lap time that we left Christmas with, which didn't happen on either day, which is a shame,” admitted Jojic.
“I think there is quite a big difference between what he had before and what he has now. He was riding a two year old bike basically. He rode the end of '07 [Factory] bike, which then became the '08 Satellite bike which really didn't change that much in '09. It was quite old but he had a fairly good feeling with it. It did have its negative points but he managed to get on with it maybe a little bit better than this one.
“For me it's just a question of time though, because you can see that Dani [Pedrosa] - okay he's not as fast as Valentino [Rossi] - but he made a big step on the last day of testing. So I'm sure there is something we can find as well.
“We also had a few technical issues, some of which were self-induced by us to be honest. It's a shame but we're all learning at the moment and these things happen. That broke our momentum, because he'd just done his fastest laps and then we had to stop for an hour to solve our problems. And then the weather changed.