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@ fastfisheye. Yes, I reckon he's being used as a glorified test rider by Honda - the testing restrictions mean Honda got creative and strong-armed cash-strapped Gresini into running Honda-owned Showa stuff.
You can bet your house that the Honda Customer bikes will be running Showa with AB's track data available in 2014. in the meantime, AB is disadvantaged but despite this is doing a fine job IMO.
The customer honda's won't have pneumatic valves either. I'm a cynic, but I reckon HRC can see the writing on the wall with the fuel limits & Dorna's need to try to level the playing field through tech changes. By getting their steel-spring engine and showa suspension developed bike out there, they hope to cover all the bases, steal a march on the others and ensure that Honda get & keep every possible advantage they can in MGP for future seasons.