Dani Pedrosa To Test Stiffer Chassis In Jerez

After a torrid preseason of testing, with Dani Pedrosa finishing well down the order during several sessions at the official MotoGP tests at Sepang and Qatar, speculation started as to the causes of Pedrosa's mediocre performance. And when Pedrosa finished just 7th at Qatar, the buzz really started about whether one of MotoGP's aliens had finally gone missing.

Anyone watching practice and the race could quite clearly see what Pedrosa's problem was, however. His Repsol Honda RC212V shook and weaved going into corners, and again coming out of corners, causing the bike to shake its head all the way along Qatar's long straights. After qualifying, in a press debrief, when asked how it felt to ride a bike bucking and weaving like that, Pedrosa fixed his interrogator with a beady eye, before replying that it felt awful.

Much of the Spaniard's problems have been put down to the adaptation process to the new Ohlins suspension that Honda are using on all their bikes, but in a story on the website of Spanish sports daily AS.com, journalist Mela Chercoles explains that the suspension is not the issue. The problem, Chercoles learnt from Pedrosa, was the chassis and the swingarm. Pedrosa has asked HRC for a stiffer frame and a stiffer rear swingarm, to allow the Spaniard to gain the rear traction that Pedrosa and his crew have been chasing, while making the bike more stable under braking and on corner exit.

The problem has been highlighted by the contrast between Pedrosa's fortunes and those of his Repsol Honda teammate Andrea Dovizioso and LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet. Dovizioso finished on the podium at Qatar, and looked like challenging for victory for much of the race, while De Puniet rode a very strong race to finish 6th. But Pedrosa isn't the only Honda rider to be facing problems: the hotly tipped rookie Marco Simoncelli and his San Carlo Gresini teammate Marco Melandri - so impressive last year on the underdeveloped Hayate - have been suffering a similar fate on the 2010 RC212V. The problems are believed to be due to the extra weight transfer that the struggling Honda riders are said to prefer, which is overloading the current iteration of Honda's MotoGP chassis.

Honda is keen to fix the problem, however, and had one chassis revision ready for Pedrosa to test at Motegi, with another for him to try at Jerez a week later. Now that Motegi has been cancelled, Pedrosa has been left with more work to do, as HRC will be bringing both chassis iterations to Jerez for Pedrosa to try. The chassis consists of a new frame and swingarm, with carbon fiber sections used to provide extra stiffness in specific areas.

With the advent of the engine limits - Pedrosa, like the other MotoGP riders, has just six engines to last the entire season - testing chassis parts leaves Pedrosa between a rock and a hard place. This early in the season, mileage has to be kept to a minimum, to ensure that the Spaniard still has engines left at the end of the year, meaning chassis have to be evaluated as quickly as possible and on as few laps as possible. Yet if Pedrosa and HRC cannot evaluate the chassis properly, and can't find a solution to the instability which has plagued the Spaniard, he will have little chance of achieving the results both he and Honda believe he is capable of.

AS.com also have a very nice Q&A discussing the problems that both Honda and Pedrosa face, and just where their problems lie.

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How can Honda miss a bending chasis at preseason tests? I'm really puzzled. And it seams that Honda produced a nail for the 4th consecutive year.

I still would like to see all 4 aliens on same speced Yamaha factory bikes, jesus that would be fun!

Is it possible that they have reached a point where the frames are just too small? Flinging a mini-bike around at 200mph seems a bit hairy to me. Maybe they should let Marco S and Marco M do the development from now on.

to think he somehow "forgot" how to ride over the winter is as absurd as those who said that about Nicky in '07...its the bike stupid.

This unfolding drama underlines the absolute stupidity of the 6 engine rule. So under the fantasy of "cost reduction" 1 of the 4 fastest riders is being sacrificed in this futile attempt to "save the sport" at the cost of ruining it...

I can't comprehend the notion that the cost of sending/rebuilding engines back & forth to Japan is THE cause of financial hardship. How much was spent in developement of long-life motors? The whole idea of racing is of excesses, thats how technology advances & we get the side benefit of entertainment...costs can't be avoided. To avoid them gives us this...a team hamstrung by arbitrary rules having potential solutions but being unable to test them... at the "cost" of the show.


Is every post about Dani Pedrosa's technical problems just going to be a complaint opportunity defending the brilliant development genius of Nickey Hayden and Honda's secret plot to change the league to 800s and build tiny bikes to make Pedrosa champion?

I think you're just slightly missing my point fella. I think you're the only one regurgitating that old canard. Can we move on to THIS discussion?

And besides it was the Trilateral Commission anyway...

You are getting ahead of yourself: It is barely the start of the season.

Dani Pedrosa obviously knows what the problem is, and will likely sort it out in the next few races. And when he does, that little bike is going to fly. Dani only ever lands in the top three (overall championship) as a result of consistancy. Don't count him out yet just because you dont like the 6 engine rule.

... Dani test a stiffer spine?

The guy is lightening fast, no doubt about it. But the speed magically vanishes whenever another alien starts applying any amount of pressure.

I predict this is the year Honda teaches Dovi to speak Spanish and then moves all its huevos into the Dovi basket.

When Nicky was having troubles, wasn't it was all about the engineers not listening him and the test riders being too scared to confirm the problems and basically just being good company men?

Looking forward to Pedrosa on a Ducati with Puig right there next to him. Speaking of Puig, I thought the Internet said he wasn't going to be allowed in the garage this year?

I'm no Pedrosa fan especially, but watching slow motion review of him riding, especially on corner entry, confirms that that Honda is really bent out of shape. There were a few corners, and one quick left in particular where the back wheel was out of line and off the pavement going in, and Dani was off the brakes at that point. It looks like it's severe chatter, but they say it's too soft? Dunno. It looks like a combo of engine braking, swingarm and suspension. Doesn't seem to affect Dovi nearly as much so Dani's weight must be a factor. If so, then wouldn't it be too stiff instead of too soft? That matches the extreme chatter that I saw.