Repsol Press Release Interview: Dani Pedrosa On Testing, The 2014 Honda RC213V, And Coping With Fuel Limits

The Repsol Press service provided a press release containing an interview with Dani Pedrosa. It it, the 28-year-old Spaniard looks ahead to the 2014 season, and weighs up the strengths and weaknesses of Honda's uprated RC213V. Pedrosa also talks about how he spent the off season, and gives his thoughts on both how the partnership with Repsol helps Honda deal with the reduction in the fuel allowance, and on Ducati's decision to switch to the Factory 2 class.

"The strong relationship between Repsol and Honda can help us adapt quickly to the new 20 litre fuel limit"

Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa analyses recent preseason tests and looks ahead to the new season.

With the 2014 preseason over, Dani Pedrosa feels ready for the challenges the year holds for himself and his team. Less than two weeks away from the start of the campaign in Qatar, the Repsol Honda rider is very positive after a speedy start at Sepang and Phillip Island.

After testing in Malaysia and Australia, what is your review of the 2014 preseason?

"It’s been quite positive. We have completed a lot of laps at two different circuits and useful tests have been made with the tyres. Overall, we have made a lot of progress. Nevertheless, we still have room for improvement. Let's see how long we need."

What homework have you given Honda for the first race?

"To try to improve the bike in general. The two most important aspects with which we can make a step up are the chassis and then the electronics. I think we can move forward a lot still, especially at the early races."

Can we say that the 2014 Honda this season is a new bike, or that it is an upgrade maintaining the base from last year?

"This bike retains a lot of the features of last year’s machine. Obviously there have been changes because, in part, the regulation requires us to make adjustments. Despite this, the important thing is to develop the bike to improve it."

Do you think you have a more competitive bike than a year ago? What are its strengths?

"It’s hard to say at this point if the bike is competitive or not. It remains to be seen at the races. The tyres have also changed. However, in the end you measure yourself against your opponents and it's not just the bike which puts you on top –it’s also the rider. So we will have to see the strengths of each competitor at the first Grand Prix."

Has the fact that fuel capacity has reduced by 1 litre significantly changed the behaviour of the bike? Has working with Repsol helped increase fuel performance to keep the same power as last year?

"The truth is that it has. We are fortunate to have a close relationship between Repsol and Honda. Thus, the synergy between engine and fuel is more effective and it is useful for adapting as quickly as possible to this new fuel tank regulation. Let's see if this combination is again a winning one."

We are less than two weeks away from the first race. How do you feel ahead of the Qatar GP? How do you face the 2014 season, taking into account your current performance, your fitness and your experience?

"Honestly, with great enthusiasm and eagerness. The whole team have worked well throughout the winter and we have to be as positive as possible. We need to start off with a strong desire to succeed."

Last year –with the exception of Assen, where you and Jorge Lorenzo did not race– the wins all went to the top three in the championship. Do you think this year things are going to open up?

"It's too early to make such predictions. Until you start the Grand Prix season you are not able to get an idea of how the campaign will go."

If there were more riders opting for victories, would winning more races become more important than consistency?

"Obviously a win always gives you more points, and the more times you win, the more consistent your results are. Winning is very important, but so is always taking points."

Now that you've completed preseason, is it a very long wait until the first race? What will you do until the moment of truth?

"Time actually goes pretty fast these days. There are always things to do: Train, prepare, organise things, focus mentally. When you aren’t doing one type of training, it’s another. Our day is pretty busy with fitness training. Holidays are taken between November and December, and from January I'm busy with workouts every day –except for some special day of events reserved for our sponsors."

How do you see Ducati doing this season, after the end of preseason and their decision to enter the Factory 2 category?

"I think this year there will be a change in Ducati. Maybe their entry into the Factory 2 category will help them be higher up the order, but the fact is that at this time of year, everything is an unknown. Until the red lights go out at the Losail Circuit, we won’t really know where everyone is at."


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When was Factory 2 confirmed as a class? I was under the impression it was still a proposal, although one unlikely to fail. Has it been locked in while I wasn't looking?

In order to get our terms of reference correct. Has Ducati decided to participate in the Factory 2 class? I understood the situation to be that they entered the Open class but will be moved to Factory 2 if and when the score 1 first, 2 seconds or 3 thirds. Has something changed?

I am also confused about ducati 's class. People keep talking about ducati as if they are already in factory 2, but I thought you were only moved there from open based on dry podiums. Or is it that they are automatically being moved to factory 2 and the fuel / engine limits (22.5 and 9) won't be imposed until they get the podium finishes?

I'll be writing about this later today. The GPC has still not confirmed the proposal. There is a lot of arguing about the class in which Ducati can enter. It hasn't been decided yet.

It would have made more sense to write a rule that anyone who hadn't won/podiumed X number of times in X races can have X number of extra engines and testing. Same thing they did when Suzuki was having problems keeping engines together. Solves Ducati's problem with the engine configuration being one of the sources of the handling woes. Keeps the factory teams on the same page when it comes to all the other stuff. Allows the true Open squads to compete among themselves, and maybe close the gap a bit to the front runners.

The problem with the Factory 2 proposal is that it's clearly an attempt to advance Dorna's electronics/entertainment agenda, using Ducati as its stooge for stage management, and not to set clear regulations for building a racebike.

No wonder everyone else in the paddock is pissed.

Thanks David. I don't understand why Honda is taking this as a done deal. We all realise it is probable, but to issue a press release as though the ruling is already passed is presumptuous to say the least. Arrogant, even. Many of us are hoping this will not pass. Rules are rules, especially if you wrote them yourself. Let Ducati, and everyone else, play by the rules as they were writ! If that turns out to be awkward, then maybe think harder before you change things next time! But don't umm and ahh about it two weeks before round one FFS! The whole world seemed happy 2 weeks ago, now it all seems like BS. I read your story about how it's the communication, not the changes BTW. But to be honest David, I don't buy it. It's the rule changes on the fly that suck, not the way they were dumped on an unsuspecting public. Remember your story about unintended consequences way back when? This is a salutary lesson and I do not think Dorna or anyone else should be allowed to wiggle out. But that's just me.