14 February 2016
Marquez, Pedrosa unveil 2016 Repsol Honda MotoGP livery
First look at 2016 Repsol Honda MotoGP livery for Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.
Repsol Honda stars Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa unveiled the team's 2016 MotoGP livery during a Valentine's day launch at the Sentul circuit, near Jakarta.
It marks the second successive year that Honda's factory team has chosen Indonesia to unveil its new colours, further underlining its significance for the motorcycle manufacturers.
Repsol has been title sponsor of the factory Honda team since 1995 and, unsurprising, the familiar livery is virtually identical to last year. The biggest changes being the inclusion of Michelin logos and increased 'Satu Hati/One Heart' (Honda Indonesia) branding.
But there are sure to be greater modifications under the skin, with HRC battling to fix last year's aggressive engine character and get on top of the new single ECU software.
“This country is very important for Honda and Repsol and we are very happy to be here this weekend,” said HRC vice president Shuhei Nakamoto. “We are also glad to hear from the Minister of Sport and Youth their intention to hold a GP here. Indonesian fans deserve to see live their MotoGP heroes in action!
“Next week Marc and Dani will have three important days of testing in Phillip Island. We are working very hard to improve our knowledge of the new common software and Michelin tyres.
“We are also working on our new engine, but I believe our engineers will be able to give Dani and Marc a good machine to fight for the Championship!"
Last season saw Marquez suffer his first title defeat since 2011, in the Moto2 class, the double MotoGP champion being caught out numerous times by unpredictable rear grip under-braking and aggressive acceleration from the RC213V.
A change to his 2014 chassis at Assen improved the situation and Marquez went on to win five races, but the title was mathematically out of reach with three rounds to go. The young Spaniard was later accused of trying to help Jorge Lorenzo in his title battle with Valentino Rossi, whom Marquez had clashed with at Argentina, Assen and most notably Sepang.
It remains to be seen what happens when the pair next meet on track, but Marquez and Honda have more pressing concerns in the form of solving the stubborn engine character flaws before engine design is frozen at round one. Honda's work has been hampered by difficulties in adapting to MotoGP's unified software, intrinsically linked to engine behaviour, with Marquez and Pedrosa only fifth (+1.3s) and eleventh (+1.6s) at the recent Sepang test.
"It never ceases to amaze me how much people unconditionally love and support MotoGP here in Indonesia, so it has been an honour for us to officially unveil our RC213V at the Sentul Circuit today and to meet so many fans on the occasion,” Marquez said.
“Now we go to Australia and I'm looking forward to continuing our work on the new engine and the new electronics. We made a few steps in the right direction over the three days at Sepang but we need to make some more at Phillip Island. I'm confident the HRC engineers and my team will come up with more improvements as we get used to the new software."
Pedrosa's 2015 title hopes were over at the opening round, where a recurrence of arm pump problems forced him to withdraw in seek of surgery. Fortunately the treatment was a success and he won two of the final five races.
As with Sepang pace setter Jorge Lorenzo, the milder braking and corner entry character of the Michelin tyres are seen as favouring Pedrosa's natural riding style. However the ongoing engine/electronic issues are masking any advantage at present.
"Today we had our team launch and I feel very proud of having been part of the Repsol Honda Team for my entire career in MotoGP,” Pedrosa said. “This year I'm physically feeling in good shape and I'm eager to start the new season. We are facing many changes and we have a lot of work to do but I'm looking forward to it.
“Here at Sentul our supporters made us feel so welcome and supported; it has been a great boost in view of the next test at Phillip Island. I'm happy this year we are testing at three different circuits in such different weather and track conditions; I think it will be very useful to help us to better understand the new engine, electronics and tyres."
Indonesia is aiming to return to the MotoGP calendar next season for the first time since 1997. Sentul had been the clear favourite for the venue, but no firm decision has yet been made on the location for the race or how it will be funded.
Marquez and Pedrosa will next be on track at Phillip Island from Wednesday to Friday, the first of two remaining pre-season tests.
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