Monday, November 27, 2006

MotoGP: More Testing On The Way

The MotoGP test at Jerez starts on November the 28th, and it should give us a better idea of where the teams stand relative to each other.
At Valencia, Suzuki were the main surprise, but that could be put down to the twisty track suiting the Suzy's sweet chassis. The Sepang test was an even bigger Suzuki surprise, as they were the fastest bike, not only in terms of lap time but also of top speed. However, there were a few big names missing. Rossi was rallying, Melandri and Pedrosa were both recovering from surgery, Ducati stayed at home to work on their bikes. HRC brought world champion Nicky Hayden, proudly bearing the number 1 plate. Not only did he struggle to adapt to the 800cc riding style, but to everyone's amazement, the new Honda V4 was seriously down on power.
The last time Honda made an engine that lacked power was probably when they were running a crazy oval-pistoned 500cc 4-stroke (that they probably found in a flying saucer) against the 2-strokes in the early 80's. The Japanese engineers will have been working round the clock to catch up.
Nicky Hayden will miss the Jerez test as he takes his turn on the operating table, but we will see 2006 race winning stars Rossi, Pedrosa, Melandri and Capirossi. It will be crunch time for Suzuki's ambitions, as they must keep up their early pace of development. This time, they will be up against all the big boys on a track that isn't ridiculously twisty (Valencia) or a major Bridgestone hunting ground (Sepang). The 800cc Ducati is a missile in a straight line, but can it beat the revitalized Suzuki around the full lap? Honda will be as dangerous as a wounded bear, but how quickly can they turn their fortunes around? We'll know in a couple of days.

No comments: