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MotoGP: Nakamoto wants greater usability from 2015 Honda

“Maybe I ride the bike today and the lap time is over two minutes. To find the last one tenth or two tenths is very difficult. One tenth difference, this is the difference.”
HRC vice president Shuhei Nakamoto believes Honda needs to make its 2015 RC213V machine more user friendly in a bid to stave off Yamaha's MotoGP resurgence.

In spite of Marc Marquez's total domination of the first half of 2014, the 21-year old was outscored by both factory Yamahas in the stretch from Indianapolis in August to the season finale in Valencia.

Crashes at Misano, Aragon and Phillip Island contributed to Marquez's haul of 137 points in the final nine races, while a resurgent Jorge Lorenzo posted 166 and Valentino Rossi 154.

Speaking at Valencia, Nakamoto revealed he has taken Yamaha's mid-season resurgence onboard and acknowledged the M1's greater usability is something HRC engineers are working towards replicating.

"Everyone has asked for increased cornering speeds,” he said. “But we have not yet made the breakthrough needed. In the second half of the season Yamaha has made progress both with the motorcycle and the riders. Our bike this year was more difficult to drive than that of 2013. We want to make it easier, like the Yamaha."

Indeed the Japanese believes the underwhelming performances of satellite Honda riders Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl in 2014 demonstrated just how difficult the current version of the RC213V was to tame.

“This year's machine was not easy to ride,” said Nakamoto. “It was more different than last year. It's difficult to ride this and how to ride the Yamaha machine. We try to find the torque to ride easy but the result was opposite. The riders say we have too much torque.

"Anyone can ride [the Honda]. Maybe I ride the bike today and the lap time is over two minutes. [But] to find the last one tenth or two tenths is very difficult. One tenth difference, this is the difference.”

Neither Marquez or team-mate Dani Pedrosa were totally happy with the 2015 RCV's performance at the Valencia test, stating the engine character and rear end of the chassis still needs a lot of work.

Having spoken at length on Marquez's record-breaking season on several occasions, Nakamoto was asked to evaluate Pedrosa's performance in 2015.

“For Dani at the beginning of the season he had an arm-pump problem. He had that checked. At that moment he couldn't find a rhythm, for four or five races. For Sepang he was very, very fast. He crashed. Also here his pace was very good [in Valencia]. I was very happy he finished on the podium. This year he only win one time but I believe he has the potential to do more.”

In terms of race wins, Pedrosa had his most barren MotoGP season to date, claiming just one win at the Czech Republic Grand Prix in August – his lowest winning haul over a season in nine years in the class.

Nakamoto believes changes in the machine's character caused by the 2014 fuel regulations, which saw Factory class MotoGP entries limited to just 20 litres, hampered Pedrosa's pace at the start of the race.

“Dani struggle to find a good lap time. He cured that with the braking [so he had] even more tyre so he could make good lap time. Some races were the opposite. He could go fast but the second part was no good because of the machine and grip. Dani is a very sensitive rider.

“He likes the harder rear spring because it's easy to make a lap but sometimes he use the softer spring because he is thinking for the whole race. Now Dani is not chasing just one very good lap time. He is thinking about the whole race.”

Tagged as: Honda , Nakamoto

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December 04, 2014 11:07 AM

Seems like a traditional problem for Honda to me. Honda always had zero problems to make the most powerful engine in the field, and make it reliable. However, creating a great chassis has often been a struggle. Yamaha, always the other way around. You can go back to the likes of Rainey and such, and see the same picture: Yamaha down on power to the Honda, but much better handling.


December 04, 2014 3:33 PM

"The only race you can say they flat out matched his speed and beat him was Brno.... I would say Misano as well, Rossi didn't do that all on his own.. he had a better bike, I am sure we remember last year....2013 Also are you comparing Yamaha against Honda or Yamaha against Marquez??!! because all the Honda riders dropped away after mid-season.. Bautista went from podium challenger to barely making top 10... Bradl faded away and Pedrosa struggled although it looks worst for Pedrosa as he was taken out in a couple races... and gave away an otherwise possible good result at Sepang... What we have here is possibly a case of the old Ducati... with only 1 rider able to make the most of the machine and quite possibly why Nakamoto is looking at the BIG picture and not just Marquez!!! Both Yamahas were strong in the latter half...compared to Honda NOT just Marquez!

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