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Repsol Honda officially launches 2017 RC213V

Repsol Honda officially kicks off its 2017 MotoGP World Championship title defence at a ceremony in Jakarta, Indonesia
Marc Marquez has officially unveiled the machine with which he aims to become Spain's first ever four-time premier-class champion, during Repsol Honda's team launch in Jakarta.

Following the opening pre-season test at Sepang, which finished with Marquez and team-mate Dani Pedrosa second and fourth fastest respectively, the riders made their way straight to neighbouring Indonesia - one of motorcycling's most important markets.

Last year saw Marquez eradicate the mistakes that doomed his 2015 campaign to regain the title. Honda began the season trailing its competitors in adapting to the new single ECU and, although significant progress was made during the year, the bike's aggressive character remained untamed and HRC has reacted by switching to a softer 'big-bang' style cylinder firing order for 2017.

The latest version of the new engine was evaluated at Sepang this week. Both riders made significant progress during the three days, but warned corner-exit wheelies are still an issue and that there is still plenty of work ahead to match the single ECU software to the new engine.

Sepang also saw Yamaha, which led the test with Maverick Vinales, become the first factory to publicly debut a fairing with integrated winglets. Honda, like the other MotoGP manufacturers, is yet to reveal its response to the new wing ban and the bike on display at today's launch had a 'normal' fairing.

“I've come here to Indonesia many times already, and I know how much they love MotoGP," Marquez said. "Still, they're always able to make me feel even more welcome than the last time, which is amazing!

"It was also very interesting and pleasant visiting the factory yesterday because I love bikes and I liked very much to see how they're 'born' and to meet the people behind all this. They were incredibly supportive and passionate.

"We'll do our best to give them a reason to celebrate. We've started our winter tests well enough, and now we all must keep working and take more steps forward to be prepared to fight at the top again.”

2017 will be Marquez's fifth MotoGP season and the twelfth for Pedrosa, who has also spent his entire career in Repsol Honda colours, winning at least one race in every season and finishing title runner-up on three occasions.

Pedrosa suffered more than most with the new Michelin tyres for much of last year, before claiming a memorable win at Misano, only to miss all three flyaway events due to injuries in a massive practice highside at Motegi.

“Today we officially launched our 2017 season, which is always an exciting moment, even when you've already lived it many times," Pedrosa said. I feel good and I'm really looking forward to starting the new racing year. I'm also happy we came here for our team launch.

"Last October I wasn't able to attend an event here due to an injury, and so many people from Indonesia showed me their support. Yesterday at the Astra Honda plant also was amazing. There were more than 2,000 people cheering and greeting us!”

Repsol has been title sponsor of the factory Honda team since 1995.

The second of the three official pre-season MotoGP tests will held at Phillip Island in Australia from February 15-17.

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Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa at Repsol Honda launch
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February 03, 2017 12:20 PM

Serious question - why even bother with these events? The bikes look identical to the year before, the public learn nothing new about the riders, bikes or teams, no one says anything controversial or even remotely interesting. We all know when the season starts and will be glued to our TV's so it's not as if this generates any additional excitement or anticipation. They always seem like a huge waste of everyone's time and energy.

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