Pedrosa: "We've Never Had Problems Last So Long"

When HRC announced last year that they would be switching to Ohlins suspension for the 2010 MotoGP season, it was widely seen as a determination to win back the MotoGP crown which Honda has chased so long and so hard. Since making the switch, Andrea Dovizioso's lot has greatly improved, but the man Honda intend to win the championship has not fared so well. Dani Pedrosa has struggled in testing so far this preseason, ending the final MotoGP test of the year at Qatar in lowly 13th position, over a second down on his Repsol Honda teammate and even behind the satellite LCR Honda of Randy de Puniet.

In an interview with the website of the Spanish magazine, Pedrosa expressed his despair about the situation telling the magazine: "I have had problems before in my career, but they have never lasted for such a long time." When asked exactly what the problems were, Pedrosa pointed to the difficulty of making the bike more stable. "The bike is moving around a lot," Pedrosa told Motociclismo, "with a lot of pumping at the rear. The whole bike is shaking and the front wheel is moving around because I can't feel the tires gripping the tarmac."

The problem was just limited to corner entry, however. "I'm talking about all of the corner in general. I'm slow in every part of the corner, and this is making my rhythm very slow." Efforts to solve the problem have so far failed to deliver for the Spaniard. "When we try and fix one thing, we find another problem somewhere else," Pedrosa told Motociclismo. "It has been very complicated, and I haven't found what I'm looking for." Pedrosa emphasized that the problems weren't down to a lack of hard work by the team, they had simply not yet been able to find a solution.

Pedrosa described the situation as difficult and frustrating, and admitted he could not see how he could be fighting at the front when the season gets underway at Qatar. That did not alter his determination in any way, however, and Pedrosa affirmed that he would do what he could to be competitive. "We are in a difficult situation," Pedrosa said, "we're about to go to the first race and we would like to be much nearer the front, but we will fight with the equipment we have."

Pedrosa's teammate Andrea Dovizioso believes that the Spaniard's mistake was not to switch from Showa to Ohlins after the Brno round last season, when he had the chance. Dovizioso had made the switch straight away, aware that HRC would be dropping the Showa suspension units for 2010. "I started immediately working with Ohlins because we knew it was a lot of work to do," Dovizioso told's Matthew Birt. That has given him an advantage, Dovizioso believes, as he has already dealt with the problems Pedrosa currently faces last year. That work has clearly paid off, with Dovizioso ending the Qatar test in 3rd place, behind only Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi. This week's paper edition of Motorcycle News has a fuller interview with the Italian.

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They just need to figure out where on the chassis to strap the 20 pound lead brick. Give me an hour of track time, a bag of zip ties and a pair of scissors and I'll help him figure out the right placement.

Honda had admitted that a de facto "wall" (or perhaps a physical and contractual wall?) had already been in existence in its garage for some time. I assume that this would imply, at the very least, that set-up data is not being shared by the two riders' crews.

Dovi is intimating that, after lots of time and hard work last year, his side has in fact figured out how to use the Ohlins. If we were to assume that whatever Dovi's camp has learned, if applied to Pedrosa's bike, would also result in a competitive bike for Pedrosa (yes, there are many variables, but let's, for the sake of discussion, just assume), can Honda, given that its primary objective is for its bike (and team and factory) to win, and given that the lack of sharing of set-up data will directly hurt (again, assuming) its rider with the greatest potential otherwise for winning, simply force the data to be shared? Or will Honda have to, or choose to, steadfastly observe the "wall" even if doing so would lead directly to the cratering (assume) of its number one rider's season?

What about data sharing with satellite Honda teams? I'm guessing that if Dani is not sharing data with his own teammate, then he's also probably not sharing with (or at least providing his own data to) satellite teams? If so, does Dani have access to, or can Honda dictate that he be given access to, set-up data from satellite teams, say, e.g., LCR's (again, assuming dP's data would work for Dani)?

If I were Dovi and his crew, I'd want to share data with Pedrosa. Neither side of the garage is doing all that great on the time sheets. Being the fastest Honda won't secure his spot. Only wins will do that. "I'm in 5th place but I'm the best one on your crap bike!" will not carry so much weight with HRC.

I was actually surprised to read that Gianni Berti stated they were "aiming for top five finishes". Since now there seem to be just three aliens left, I would think they'd aim for podiums - or wins.

The "wall" can only be attributed to Alberto Puig so that people like Nicky Hayden, and now Dovizioso, can't "steal" Pedrosa's setup data and move towards the front.

Of course, this story of his breaks down when the roles are reversed... hoisted on his own petard, to be sure.

I know I'll get flamed for it, but it warms the depths of my heart to see DP struggling so much. Honda built that bike for him, and he can't ride it. I thought I remember reading sometime back that Danny can see anyone else's data, but no one can see his. So even seeing Dovi's data isn't helping. Maybe that lead brick idea isn't so bad

dovizioso has enough influence in the team to prevent pedrosa's side of the fence from looking at their data. i can't imagine that honda, knowing full well that dani is their ticket to a WC, would not give his engineers dovi's settings to use and see if they could get dani jump-started. it doesn't make sense to me- wall or no wall. i could see it the other way around though.

what's ironic to me are those comments by puig that hayden didn't know how to set up a bike, and the comments dani made in preseason in 07 while convalescing- saying how it was a shame that he (dani) was missing testing time because nicky was lost at sea when it came to bike development, and he (dani) needed to get better quickly in order to lead the rcv's development in testing.

after nearly half a year on the ducati, that bike seemed to work better after nicky was testing and improving it alone while stoner was down under resting from his mystery ailment. you could see hayden's results start to improve with each race, defying the logic that the only one person could ride the finicky ducati quickly.

i wonder if hayden isn't such a gump (suzuki gp/russell reference ;) ) after all...

Perhaps he has seen and tested Dovi's data, but it's not working for him. Some riders have never been able to completely adapt to the Bridgestones, perhaps Dani's having some sort of fundamental issue with the Ohlins...

Perhaps, none of the above.

At Valencia, Pedrosa said that he found it hard to adapt to the Ohlins, and he's been saying that ever since. They seem to be a bit lost trying to get the Ohlins to work for them. But then again, the Marcos seem to be in a similar situation.

psychological. Remember, Honda effectively engineered and has access to every spec from the Showa. Seeing that the Ohlins is literally "infinitely" adjustable, why aren't they setting up the "O" to imitate the "S". They are both top shelf suspensions. I'm just not buying into the Honda troubles as "mostly" or "entirely" the fault of Ohlins or the lack of familiarity there-of. It would be a shame is Dani is obsessed with the suspension brand as much as we all are. Someone send the team some Showa stickers,,, . solved.

I've ridden a bunch of high end suspension stuff and even to a top line Penske an Ohlins just feels, well, plusher. Since the Honda riders that are fast are the ones with Ohlins experience it is not a far stretch to imagine it has a measurable difference in behavior.

It's not the 'fault' of the Ohlins parts, it is just the bike/rider has not yet identified the proper settings to match the different behavior. Since Dani has been a factory Honda guy for a long time he has likely never sampled the Ohlins product but RDP and Dovi (?) both have, not just last year but while on satellite teams.


this is nothing against you, but pedrosa never said that hayden had no skills in bike development, not once. there are still an awful lot of pedrosa half-quotes floating around from the hayden@hrc times which were badly translated to begin with - as well as taken out of context by the english-speaking media - and somehow survived until this day, marked as truth. in fact dani was asked how he deals with the injury setback and he said (paraphrasing) that it's a pity to only have one rider left to develop the bike, because there's a lot of development still to be done which would be easier with two riders. not a word about hayden having no skills whatsoever. but since nicky's spanish is, well, lacking, all he could ever rely on is what he read in the media or what people told him dani allegedly said. and with the (in large parts still ongoing) anti-pedrosa climate everywhere outside spain, of course not many fans cared whether or not the translations were valid as it fit so perfectly in the picture of the evil pedrosapuppet
and while nicky is someone who happily communicates with the media and gives his opinion on things, dani is certainly not and this definitely keeps certain misconceptions going on, just like this one.

I'm fairly certain that most of us are referring to Puig's denigrating comments about Hayden.  I have never really attributed those same intimations to Pedrosa, and have often felt sorry for the ire directed at him that is more properly due his manager.  Alberto's rather outspoken manners are not lost in translation, or partial context; he makes sure of that.

Because I don't know either man, it is all inference, but around these parts, guilt-by-association is not the way we do things.  Other sites may do that, but we don't.

i can only read what's in the press and judge if it seems valid. this one seemed to have legs as the relationship between the 2 riders was always chilly, even before the incident at estoril.

here are 2 separate english-speaking sources to back up what i said:

Should Pedrosa return at Jerez, he will still have missed a potential eight days of winter testing - and the 2007 MotoGP World Championship runner-up surprisingly admitted, in answering a question from the press, that he is "a little worried" at leaving team-mate Nicky Hayden to develop the new RC212V since "he has not been very beneficial when he has had that responsibility in the past."

i can't imagine how this could be taken out of context. what could he have said that was remotely similar that motosprint (spanish) could spin?

there is also a direct quote from HRC in this one, originally printed in autosport:

Shinichi Kokubu, project leader of the RC212V at HRC, added that Pedrosa was wrong about Hayden. "Pedrosa is wrong when he says that Nicky doesn't know how to develop a bike," he said.

what else is there to say unless the press is making up quotes for hrc engineers as well as dani? that seems unlikely.

rusty, imho, most of the ire directed at dani is not because of the estoril incident, but because of his initial reaction to that crash, and subsequent remorseless statements regarding the cause. his general stoic demeanor never helped in matters of popularity either. he's no rossi in that department.

He used to complain that Nicky was a bad development rider... the honda hasn't exactly moved to the front since Dani has been the man.

He's a great rider, Dani, but i think it stops there. You often see him standing in the corner of his garage ignoring the engineers while guys like Stoner and Rossi have a pack of them in their face looking for input. At least this is what i gleam from the broadcasts of the races, quals and testing. Same with Dovi. You don't often see him doing much more then sitting, pointing to his logos and blowing kisses while the crew ignores him.

Maybe it's time to remove the physical and meta walls from the pits and maybe make a more common bike to focus on instead of 3 or 4 levels of honda. It seems to work for yamaha and ducati.

Do something bold Honda, put Lorenzo and RDP on the repsol bikes! That would be interesting. Currently repsol honda is as exciting as watching paint dry. This from a life long honda fan who has owned many bikes and all of them honda.

I'm in a walking coma here waiting for the racing to start. They must do something about this qatar stuff. Cries.

"He's a great rider, Dani, but i think it stops there. You often see him standing in the corner of his garage ignoring the engineers while guys like Stoner and Rossi have a pack of them in their face looking for input. At least this is what i gleam from the broadcasts of the races, quals and testing. Same with Dovi. You don't often see him doing much more then sitting, pointing to his logos and blowing kisses while the crew ignores him."

I doubt this is anything more than the perception your biasness creates, since I have never seen seen either Dani or Dovi act like this in their careers after coming into pits.

also running ohlins? that team has more to worry about than repsol does. at least they don't have the kawasaki's to worry about.

Going with the earlier statement from Honda that all the bikes would be (starting the season) the same, it is reasonable to presume so.  Whether the satellite teams would be able to purchase Showa equipment as an "option", I haven't heard or read.

Dani is so different to any other rider that their data would be virtually meaningless anyway. Dani and team will get it sorted it, it's simply a mater of when. Andrea made a sound decision in changing to Ohlins last season, certainly given the limited amount of test time this year.

I think there's some misconception regarding the 'no data sharing' at HRC this year. During the actual race weekends, and possibly even during the test days data is most probably kept to to oneself, but that doesn't mean data is NEVER shared and compared.

During debriefs, meetings and R&D away from the track, engineers most certainly collate, analyze, and compare all the data from both riders. I think some of you've taken the Honda racing chiefs words just a little too far, and are under the impression that from 2010 there is to be not a single piece of shared data between Pedrosa and Dovi.

Having said that, it is interesting to see Dani s truggle under this new anti-sharing arrangement. Mind you I think it's still a little too early to attribute this to a lack of development skill. As Dovi graciously pointed out, he's had more than half a year extra on Ohlins.

Still, HRC demand winners, and aren't renowned for their patience. The balls definitely in Dani's court. And the pressures on.