Repsol Honda are expecting Dani Pedrosa to pick up where he left off in MotoGP this year.
Pedrosa won seven races, more than any other rider, last season, including six victories - every race he finished - in the last eight rounds.
It wasn't quite enough to catch Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo, but with no major technical changes for 2013 HRC vice president Shuhei Nakamoto feels Pedrosa and Honda will be ready from round one.
“2012 was a good season, but from Honda's point of view we struggled with the minimum weight regulations that changed shortly before the season started… Especially for Dani. A 4kg increase is a big difference for Dani,” said Nakamoto at the Repsol Honda team launch in Madrid.
“But in the second half of last season Dani was so strong. He won seven races including in the rain at Sepang. So Dani is still improving as a rider. We believe we can continue from last year's results and we believe we have a big chance to win the championship this year.”
Pedrosa, who has finished MotoGP title runner-up on three occasions since his 2006 debut, joined rookie team-mate Marc Marquez in unveiling the revised 2013 Repsol Honda livery.
“We had run with the old design for a long time and I think that now is a good moment for a change,” he said of the new colour scheme. “This year's bike has a fresh touch to it, which can give us a boost at the races. I hope the fans like it too.
“I'm starting this pre-season really keen, as at the Valencia test after the last race of 2012 we had so much rain that we couldn't do much. I can't wait to get to Malaysia and have a few days to put the bike through its paces, enjoy myself and see which parts we are going to use for the opening race"
The opening Sepang test, the first of three official pre-season outings, will be held from February 5-7.