HRC technical boss Takeo Yokoyama has confirmed that when Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez open the season at Qatar next March they could be on two quite different Honda RC213Vs.
Yokoyama says Honda is committed to satisfying any special requests from Lorenzo. As Casey Stoner outlined the signal is that Honda will not play favourites in an effort to give Marquez and Lorenzo an equal chance to win.
“We will keep the same Honda philosophy. We have two factory riders and if they request something different we make different bikes,” Yokoyama said. “We will make something special for Jorge if he asks. I am very curious to understand what Jorge wants in a bike.
“Of course engine specs are sealed but for the chassis, geometry and other parts we can do something different.”
The Honda policy appears certain make Lorenzo’s transition from Ducati much smoother than his switch from Yamaha to Ducati in 2017. The Desmosedici stands alone in MotoGP for its riding character with the Honda more likely to share some similarity with the Yamaha YZR-M1.
Honda and Marquez have won five of the six world championships since 2013. Only Lorenzo’s 2015 title on a Yamaha M1 has interrupted the sequence.
The appearance of a flared fuel tank cover with grippy thigh supports and larger seat area on Jorge Lorenzo’s bike at the Valencia and Jerez tests was confirmation that Honda will tailor make an RC213V for their new recruit.
The tank and seat unit are a virtual copy of the units introduced by Ducati – for better leg and arm support during heavy braking – at Mugello in May when Lorenzo won the Italian GP, the first of the Spaniard’s three wins for Ducati.
Honda engineers clearly took note and were ready with ergonomic tank/seat options for Lorenzo. Any chassis, geometry and set-up options will follow after post-test debriefs in time for the opening test of 2019 at Sepang in February.