Yamaha Welcomes Honda Competition for 2011 MotoGP Season

wilco_zeelenbergThe MotoGP Sepang test showed one thing for sure about the 2011 MotoGP season; Honda’s RC212V motorcycles are going to be hard to beat. The Repsol Honda team, consisting of Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner, and Andrea Dovizioso, were consistently at the top of the time sheets. But Jorge Lorenzo and the Factory Yamaha team are happy with the competition, saying that it will make them work harder and make less mistakes.

“It’s interesting that I have to say this because we improved the bike quite a lot compared to last year. But obviously, our competitors are very strong,” said Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager Wilco Zeelenberg.

“The competition being harder is better for us. Last year Jorge won by 138 points, that is too much. 25 points or two races ahead is nice, but with 138 points it makes it easy for somebody make a lot of mistakes. I hope the competition will be very tough this year.”

Lorenzo and his teammate Ben Spies had a solid testing session in Sepang, but they couldn’t match the speed of the RC212Vs. The two Yamaha riders were closest to matching the speed of the Honda bikes, but were still about a second behind.

Still, the Yamaha Factory team was happy about the results.

“Jorge is the most consistent rider out there, and so far things are going well,” Zeelenberg said. “We know Honda’s engine configuration is completely different from ours, and we are not able to match that. But we believe that it’s not always necessary since there are 18 races, and we race on very short tracks.

“We are going the right way but we need to continue working hard.”

You can see a video of Zeelenberg’s interview at MotoGP.com.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

MotoGP Riders Prepare for Test 2 at Sepang

sepang_circuitNext week, the MotoGP riders will gather at Sepang for the second of three testing sessions before the start of the 2011 MotoGP season. The first, which was also held at Sepang, gave a glimpse at what we can expect this season. A whole lot of action, and numerous riders stepping onto the podium.

The Honda RC212V was the star of the first Sepang session. The Repsol Honda team of Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso, and Casey Stoner all showed that the RC212V will be a force around the MotoGP track this season. Pedrosa also was able to show that his injured collar bone shouldn’t be a factor this season, and Stoner proved that his adaptation to his new team and new bike was going smoothly.

But the Honda team of all-stars was overshadowed by the smaller San Carlo Gresini team. Marco Simoncelli, who probably wasn’t looked at as a major threat before the first Sepang test, climbed to the top of the time sheets, narrowly missing Valentino Rossi’s track record. Simoncelli led a group of five Honda machines to finish inside the top 7.

The Honda group was the most impressive at Sepang, but Jorge Lorenzo was also in the mix. Lorenzo, the defending 2010 Champion, came within .088 seconds of Simoncelli’s time. Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies also ranked among the top riders. Spies had a fantastic rookie season, and now with a little experience under his belt, should be a consistent contender in the 2011 MotoGP season.

Valentino Rossi couldn’t manage to find a top 10 spot, but the “Doctor” is still nursing a shoulder injury. Rossi said that he was pleased with the Sepang test, and was surprised by the strength of his shoulder. A few weeks have passed sinced the last time he was at Sepang, and we could see Rossi push himself and his speed a little this weekend.

The second MotoGP testing session will start on Tuesday, the 22nd, and will go for three days at Sepang.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com