HRC principal Shuhei Nakamoto insists his team cannot afford to get complacent in the fight for the 2011 MotoGP World Championship, despite winning seven of the opening ten races this season.
Heading into the second-half of the year, Casey Stoner currently leads the standings with five wins, but his advantage is being pegged back at 20 points to Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo, who has matched his rival for consistency, even if he has won just two races in comparison.
Indeed, though Honda is already enjoying its most successful MotoGP season since 2006 (when it won eight races over an entire year), Nakamoto remains wary of the threat coming from Lorenzo, labelling him as a 'tough competitor'.
“Honda has won seven out of ten races so far. Considering we only won four in the whole of the last season, you'd think we have it in the bag. But Lorenzo is a very tough competitor. He's not going to give up, and I think we will continue to see a pattern of wins and losses for the rest of the season.
“A single slip could upset the whole championship battle. We're going to be treating every race with the utmost seriousness, concentrating on avoiding any mistakes that could cost us points.”
Looking ahead to the remainder of the season, though Nakamoto is delighted with Honda's upturn in form this season, one that sees it occupy first, third and fourth in the standings, he is particularly eager to see an all-Honda podium before the year is out.
“We are facing some pretty strong competition so I can't say it [all-Honda podium] will be easy to pull it off. On the other hand, it's a dream we've been chasing for some time and we'll be going all out in the remaining races, to try and realise that dream as soon as we can, and also of course to take the Championship. I hope you all will keep following our progress and helping us with your support.”
Despite its success, Honda is tipped to return to a two-man factory Repsol team made up of Stoner and Dani Pedrosa in 2012, with Andrea Dovizioso switching to LCR Honda and Marco Simoncelli remaining at Gresini Honda.