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'Honda is fair with its rivals, unlike Ferrari'
23 November 2012
Shuhei Nakamoto, vice president of Honda Racing Corporation and formerly a senior member of the company's ill-fated F1 project, claims Honda is always fair with its MotoGP rivals - unlike Ferrari in F1.
Honda is the dominant MotoGP participant in terms of resources, contribution and history. Yamaha and Ducati are the other current premier-class manufacturers.
During a joint interview alongside HRC president Tetsuo Suzuki for LCR Honda's Inspire
magazine, Nakamoto pointed out the effort Honda makes to support the sport - especially in the Moto2 and Moto3 classes.
“Personally, I love both MotoGP and F1 in the same quantities. I am very proud to work at HRC because our company is able to support competitions and offer a great and lasting contribution to the future of the motorcycle racing world.
“Establishing the Moto3 class and providing engines for the Moto2 class are good examples for how much we can do.
“At F1, Ferrari has absolute authority. To be honest, we suffered a lot in that period. In MotoGP, in fact, Honda is in a similarly strong position but we like to be fair with our rivals. If we were to use our force, the MotoGP race would lose its appeal.”
Nakamoto was then asked, 'So Honda doesn't behave like Ferrari in the MotoGP, trying to make a biased racing environment?'
“That's correct,” he replied. “However so many people believe that Honda do whatever Honda wants! In fact they bash us about that frequently!
“Think about it like this - Honda provides the Moto2 engines without making a profit. It set up the Moto3 class to hold back the soaring spending of the GP125 class budget. And in the MotoGP class we are trying to keep fair regulations.”
Nakamoto has been a staunch defender of the need for MotoGP to retain is level of technical sophistication, in the face of cost-cutting proposals, resulting in a compromise being reached for 2014 whereby manufacturers will retain their own software within the new control ECU.
“I believe motorcycle fans love to follow the racing to see the advances in motorcycle technology, not just to witness the battles between riders on the track,” said Nakamoto.
Honda's Dani Pedrosa finished second in the 2012 riders' championship to Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo.
Perhaps one of the most surprising comments from Tetsuo Suzuki - a former classmate of Nakamoto - was when asked for his hero as a racer.
Suzuki selected two former Honda MotoGP stars, Valentino Rossi and the late Daijiro Kato. Rossi won the first three of his seven MotoGP titles with Honda, then left for Yamaha at the end of 2003.
“For me Valentino Rossi and Daijiro Kato are the leading lights. I have to mention their racing attitude - it's exemplary. Most of the riders say "I can't ride very fast because of this and that". But Daijiro and Valentino both say "Please solve this issue and I'll do the rest".”