And Honda 250cc disadvantage
In an interview conducted with Repsol's media service, famed mechanic Juan Martinez explains why Honda are a step behind Aprilia in 250cc, and how Dani Pedrosa's lack of full adaptation to MotoGP has made things difficult for the factory to develop
When did you begin working in the world of motorbikes ?
"I began back in '88 or '89. I was 15 and I liked bikes. It all began one summer when I began to work in a workshop opposite my house to make it easier for my mum to control me. I went there and stopped studying."
"I don't recommend it, but I was hooked on motorbikes. It was a normal workshop, importing Fantic and distributing Yamaha. I worked there for three years until I had to do military service. When I went back after the “mili” I began to work with Showa, they gave me a chance to join their competition department. They needed a guy to learn all about suspension and since then – that was back in '94 – I have been working in the World Championship."
“At Showa I was lucky enough to be with many great riders like Mick Doohan, Valentino Rossi, Luca Cadalora, Alex Barros, Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau. The list is endless because at Showa we also helped teams like Montesa–HRC in trial, and this let me work with riders like Amós Bilbao, Dougie Lampkin and Marc Colomer."
Can you explain what exactly you do and your responsibilities in the Repsol Honda 125cc and 250cc teams ?
"I am the technical co-ordinator in the 125cc team. I am the technical consultant in the 250cc team: If the technicians have something to ask or want to know my opinion about something, I am there to try and help."
How do you see the 125cc class, the level of the riders and bikes ?
"I think at the moment there is a power vacuum in 125cc. What do I mean? That there is no real leader like Pedrosa or Bautista were in their day. Now in some races it is Talmacsi, in others Pasini… It seems that this whole generation of riders with more experience is perhaps waiting for a new leader in the category to arrive. These are cycles that occur every few years and at the moment there is a vacuum, without leaders."
How would you describe the 250cc scene ?
"We can all see that, referring to results, Lorenzo is making perfect use of the technical advantages he may have. Obviously once you have these types of advantages you have to be able to make use of them and get the best out of them, something that he has been doing so far."
"I am sure that the Aprilia is now a step ahead of the Honda.
Honda`s business policy means that bike development has stopped on both the 250cc and 125cc machines, which means we are handicapped. Anyway, what we intend to do is to get the best possible performance of what we have with our riders. Even Dovizioso, when he has things at 100%, cannot be there."
What about MotoGP ?
"This is an era of total transition. We have found ourselves with a new displacement, new regulations for the tyres and I think that everything is conditioned a little by Dani Pedrosa's adaptation to the category. The fact that he has to evolve a motorbike in his second year in the category along with the obstacle that the tyres for the whole weekend have to be chosen on the Thursday are added problems to the inherent difficulty that racing in this category has."
"At Ducati they have worked very well and Stoner is taking advantage better than anybody else because apart from the motorbike working well he is also doing things perfectly. Valentino is doing what he has always done and what he has been. He is a born fighter, independently of the technical weaknesses on the machine, or a lack of speed compared to the Ducati. In spite of all that he is still there, on the lookout and if Stoner makes a mistake, at any moment he can pass him."
DORNA / CAPSIS International