On Thursday at Misano, Repsol Honda team principal Livio Suppo gave an update on the Production Racer version of the RC213V, to be available as a new privateer entry from 2014.

The bike is based on the championship leading factory prototype, but without the expensive seamless gearbox and pneumatic valves.

So far only Gresini Honda is officially confirmed as running the machine, for Scott Redding, but Honda is prepared to supply up to five riders and more announcements are expected soon.

"The first test has been good, reasonably fast. The test rider Akiyoshi was almost as fast as on the factory bike so we are confident," said Suppo. "Of course at that time the bike was running with the electronic software developed by Honda and next year we will need to use the Magneti-Marelli so we have to develop this system."

As a privateer entry, the Production Honda will need to use the full control ECU system, hardware and software, but be eligible for extra fuel and engine changes relative to the factory prototypes.

"The bike is very similar to the factory bike, just no pneumatic valves or seamless transmission, but it will have 24 litres of race fuel which will help," Suppo confirmed.

Speaking generally about the new range of privateer MotoGP machines on offer by Honda and Yamaha, Suppo added:

"We have to find a way to provide teams with reasonably competitive machines for a reasonably price. It is not easy, because to reach the level of a factory bike is very high. But we have to do something, also Yamaha is doing something similar, and for sure it is good for the sport."

Honda has a perfect test rider for its project in the form of newly retired double world champion Casey Stoner, although the second of the Australian's four HRC test sessions was recently rained off.

The announcement of the tests triggered a flurry of speculation that Stoner may make a race return, something Suppo again denied.

"Of course, when you speak about Casey everybody is interested in knowing if he will be back one day, but there is nothing more to it at the moment," he said. "He is just enjoying it and it is a dream for any manufacturer to have such a strong rider for testing.

"Usually the test riders cannot reach the level of the factory race riders and then it is difficult for the engineers to understand if the changes make the bike better or not. We are very, very lucky."

And does Stoner miss MotoGP?

"For sure, Casey misses riding the bike. All these guys have a lot of passion and - I've never done it - but riding these bikes is a feeling that is impossible to replicate in any other sport. So he is happy to go there testing, no media attention or anything.

"I think he loved the competition but he just wanted to be in his kind of isolated world, and that is the case with the tests."

Stoner is also helping with development of the 2014 factory Honda machine, to be used by current championship leaders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa. Marquez and Pedrosa will try the latest version of the bike during Monday's official post-race test.



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