Andrea Dovizioso Friday Briefing: "The Honda Is Fast But Difficult"

After Andrea Dovizioso set the 2nd fastest time during FP1 at Misano behind his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, went along to find out just why the Hondas were so fast. As we were the only English-language publication present, we had Dovizioso to ourselves. Here's what he had to tell us:

MotoMatters: So, 2nd.

Andrea Dovizioso: Not bad!

MM: Not bad at all. The only bad point is that your 0.6 behind Dani.

AD: Yes, exactly. I'm really happy about the 2nd position and how we made the session. But sure, six tenths from Dani is not really a small gap, and we need to improve. I think there are a few reasons for this: First is because he's a little bit faster than us; second, is also a consequence of the victory in Indy; third, is also I think the setup of the bike. His position on the bike is different to mine, there's a big difference. And maybe in this track this can be better. But we have tomorrow to try to see if we are going in the right way and how much we can improve.

MM: The Honda has made huge advances since the start of the season.

AD: My idea is that the bike from the beginning of the season to now is almost the same. We made small improvements, just what you can improve during the weekend of a race: the electronics system, you can understand better the bike, but the package was this one. And if you see the other riders in Honda, they did not make the step, they are not fast.

I think the main reason is the bike is so difficult, it's difficult to be fast and to be consistent. So me and Dani are working really hard and we have good experience, especially Dani but also me, it's the second year with HRC with a difficult bike, and we are pushing always really hard and we're working really hard so we can get this result. But if you check the other riders, they don't get the results. It's not like Yamaha, where the satellite team can fight with the factory bike, so. I think there is a difference. I think the bike is fast, but difficult to be fast, you need to understand a lot but especially it's really difficult to be consistent.

MM: What's the problem? What have you been working on? Is it electronics, is it suspension, is it setup?

AD: About the consistency, we did not find a way. We're just pushing and we have a dream, so this can push you to get results. This is so important. That makes a difference compared to the satellite bikes.

MM: Looking at the timesheets [of Misano FP1], we have two Hondas, two factory Yamahas, two Tech 3 Yamahas, two Ducatis. It looks a lot like Formula One, where it's the cars that finish, not the bikes.

AD: No, fortunately it's the bike. We are riding the bike and the results are just a coincidence!

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Comments his contract negotiations?

That reads to me like a pre-emptive complaint about being outsourced to a Honda satellite team.  And those words must certainly haunt him now that he has been outqualified by a satellite bike!

What, exactly, is meant by "...a consequence of the victory at Indy..."?  Is this just something that translates inconveniently from the Romance languages, or is there a secret kick-back program at HRC?  ;-)

To me that comment about Indy sounds like he's just saying that Dani is riding well due to increased confidence. Which wouldn't be surprising at all, many many riders have commented on the mental aspect of racing and if someone's confidence is high they really will be riding that much better.

To me this sounds a lot like Dovi talking himself and Dani up as to how crucially important they are to the results that the factory Repsol team have gotten. Maybe subliminally saying that he believes himself to be better on the HRC bike than what Stoner may bring. When asked why the factory bike is so much faster than the satellite Honda's he doesn't give a technical reason, or even a rider style reason, he uses a theological reason saying that him and Dani perhaps "want it more," I don't know. This sounds more like a sprucing up your ability to win more so than complaining about the bike to me...

The difference is - the Hondas are fast. There is nothing like a fast bike to seperate you from the rest of the pack.

Dani (especially) and Dovi are riding extreamly well, but so are several others. A fast bike makes almost anyone look good. Ask Casey back in 2007.

Most all these bikes are ridden to the maximum by (most of) these riders. A small speed advantage can make a very noticeable difference when the bikes are so close in lap times.

Yeah just ask Loris how good the 2007 bike with all its speed was! Straight line speed is WAY overrated, and if you check the results most of the time there is zero correlation between top speed and podiums. The Yam is apparently still one of the slower bikes in a straight line yet they are the best performing bikes out there because they get through and out of the corners beautifully. Dani is fastest becasue he is riding the wheels off the bike, and handing Dovi his arse once again.

I always search out his interviews before most others. He always has very good insight, technical knowledge, rider histories and styles and communicates it well in the english language. Excellent.