Despite the arrival of Casey Stoner, and an enlarged three-man factory Honda team for MotoGP in 2011, HRC has shown it hasn't forgotten about Marco Simoncelli.
Simoncelli spent his rookie season on a factory bike in the satellite Gresini outfit, a team he will remain with in 2011, but with an upgraded status within Honda.
HRC said that this week's Valencia test marked Simoncelli's debut as 'a full factory supported rider'.
"We have four factory supported riders next year," said HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto, the others being Repsol riders Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso. "We have a plan [for testing] - one rider tests this, another other parts.”
As well as development input for the 2011 RC212V, Simoncelli also has more human support.
"Honda have provided us with another telemetry engineer so that Elvio Deganello can concentrate more on the set-up of the electronics," said Simoncelli. "I am really happy with this and I appreciate the support of Honda, which gives me even more motivation for next year.”
Simoncelli promptly rewarded Honda for its effort by being fifth and then fourth over the two days at Valencia, finishing the final track action of 2010 just 0.384sec behind fastest rider Stoner.
As part of his new development Simoncelli was given a new chassis and front fork option for day one, then concentrated on a new shock during day two.
“I was pleased with the updates brought to us by Honda and everything worked very well," said Simoncelli. "The new chassis gives us better traction compared to what we have been using this season, which made life difficult for us in a lot of places, and I could feel a good improvement.
"The new forks also worked better and my feeling was immediately as good if not better than the ones we've been using so overall it is good for the future and we can continue improving.
“[Day two] was a great day. We worked a lot on a new shock and choosing the suspension for next year. We also managed to experiment with my position on the bike and did some tyre tests at the end of the day. It has been a very positive test overall, we have been fast and consistent and I am delighted with it."
Simoncelli shrugged off some small falls.