Repsol Honda officially presented the bike with which Casey Stoner will aim to defend his MotoGP title, during a Monday evening media call at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
The event began with a video summarising Honda's 2011 Triple Crown triumph, after which a moment of silence was held in memory of Marco Simoncelli. Yesterday, the Repsol Honda Team visited the spot on the Sepang track where Simoncelli lost his life last October, laying a wreath of flowers and holding a minute's silence.
With respects paid to Marco, attention turned to 2012, with Stoner and team-mate Dani Pedrosa pulling the covers off their new RC213Vs, designed for the new 1000cc era. The classic Repsol colours continue, meaning the main visual difference was the #1 on the front of Stoner's machine.
"This is the Honda RC213V. That's 21-3, not 2-1-3. It stands for 21st century and 3rd [generation of] machine," said HRC Executive Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto. "The engine and chassis is different from last year, due to the regulation change.
"Engine wise the bore is 81mm, but I don't know the stroke. Sorry!" he smiled. Revealing both the bore and stroke would indicate if Honda has chosen to use the full 1000cc available.
Either way, Honda has the highest of hopes for the new bike.
“We finished the 800cc era winning the triple crown and we will fight to win this again in 2012. We fully trust in our riders Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa to deliver this big challenge and we will give them all our technical and human support," said Nakamoto.
“The RC213V is an evolution of the last version of the RC212V based on the same concept. The machines we have brought here to Sepang are basically the same machines we tested in Valencia back in November with only a few differences.
“In fact, Casey and Dani will have one machine the same as Valencia, and the other one with a slightly different chassis, based on their own requests.
"This is the first time back to Sepang since we lost Marco Simoncelli last October, on Sunday we visited the scene of his accident and laid some flowers and said a final 'Ciao' to him. I believe by starting this season strong will be a fitting tribute to Marco".
Father-to-be-Stoner returns to action and recharged after a relaxing winter break.