We talk with Santi Hernández and Ramón Aurín, the two race engineers at the Repsol Honda Team

9 minutes

Two weeks away from the new MotoGP season, the Repsol Honda Team’s two race engineers tell us their experiences with riders and the importance of teamwork at both sides of the box.

We talk with Santi Hernández and Ramón Aurín, the two race engineers at the Repsol Honda Team

Do your riders listen to you? What’s the balance between suggesting ideas and listening to feedback?
Ramón: “Sometimes they listen to us, but I don’t know how much they catch from our advice. Normally all the riders want to follow your suggestions that you give them. But sometimes when they are on track and the situation changes, they don’t follow this advice. This is my situation; I don’t know about you Santi.”

Santi: “Yeah, like always we try to advise them the best after checking everything with all the staff of the team. Of course, the opinion from the rider is very important too because it is not only us who have the truth. Sometimes you must listen more to the rider’s comments because the problem is coming more from what he’s feeling. Maybe in flag-to flag-situation you have to listen more to the rider because this is what he can feel and make the difference.
In another side or situation, the rider listens more to the staff because we have all the data, more information and maybe he listens more. But at the end we are deciding all together, not the rider, not the technical staff. For me it’s between.”

How does Márquez’s team help Espargaró’s team?

Ramón: “We know Marc, we know he is a champion. Then he has known this bike for eight or nine years. Normally when he says an opinion in one item it is right. We try to follow, and sometimes copy, the suggestion and the action that they do. Even if our rider, Pol, says ‘I don’t feel better,’ we try it for him and see if it’s really the same for him because he (Marc) is the reference anyway in Honda and in MotoGP.”

How does Espargaró’s team help Márquez’s team?

Santi: “For me the other side of the garage is always a help to us, especially in the last two years where we weren’t 100% all the time. Even for Ramón, it is not easy every year changing the rider. When you know the rider, you change and then you start from the beginning and again one more year you start from the beginning. I hope this year his job will be easier because he knows Pol for one year, he knows the rider’s style and many things, and of course it will help us. All HRC riders are trying to help because is very important all this information.”

Ramón Aurín on: Marc Márquez

Ramón: “Marc is a big, big worker. One guy that never gives up and this is good as a rider and as a person. It’s very important to have one guy like this in the team.”

Santi Hernández on: Pol Espargaró

Santi: “He is a rider that likes to improve all the time. He is a worker; I mean he is never giving up. It’s brave. It’s good to have in HRC that kind of rider. I hope this year with the new bike he can get better results, it can be important for all our team.”

Ramón Aurín on: Santi

Ramón: “He is a good guy. He is a nice person and easy to work with. This is important in this job that you have a very, very tight relationship. Also, another thing that’s very good is the honesty with his opinion and actions which are always for the team, for Honda, for HRC and for the Repsol Honda Team it is important to have honesty inside. Even if you have rivalry between two riders, at the end you want to have the best bike possible in the paddock because it makes the difference for riders. On this Santi is very, very good.”

Santi Hernández on: Ramón

Santi: “Yeah. I mean I’ve known Ramón for a long time. Not only in HRC, I was working in Showa, and already we were working together. I know Ramón and for me, he is one of the reference guys in the paddock. Not only from now with his position, even in other positions he did in the teams. He has a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge for many things. For me it’s important to work with Ramón and also it is important in HRC to have Ramón. Maybe the results weren’t showing his potential, but this for me is not the problem. The difference is the knowledge and the experience and his job is great in the team, this is why he is working such a long time in HRC. That’s the answer. When you are in one place from a long time ago, it’s looks like you’re doing your job well. This is the answer.”

Ramón Aurín on: Approaching 2022

Ramón: “This season is a little bit different from the last ones. I have the same rider, normally it should be a little bit easier to understand his comments and his request. We want to see if the bike improves the weak points from last year and try to get the maximum this season.”

Santi Hernández on: 12 years with Marc

Santi: “Of course, if you have same rider during many years everything is coming easier between us because everybody knows all of us and our job. But at the end, as always, we say it’s difficult because everybody makes improvements, we have some weak points. We would like the new bike to help our weak points we had in the past. Try to do our best and try to be on the top like we want to be.”

Ramón Aurín on: Pol’s adaption

Ramón: “When you jump from one bike to another, when the concept of the bike is so different, at the beginning it’s little bit difficult to ride in the lap time. But lap by lap and after some long runs they understand they need to change the riding style because the bike requests this different way to ride. The way that they need to enter in the corner is a little bit different, the way that need to brake, use the rear and front brake should be a little bit different than before.”

Santi Hernández on: Marc’s requests for 2022

Santi: “Especially stability on entry, more grip and more power for the straight. This is what we want. What we want, normally all riders want more power on the straight, more stability on the brakes and more grip on the exit. This is what we request, but at the end this is where we are struggling more, especially on the straight, where you can gain lap time for free if you have a more powerful engine, it will be easier for the riders.”

Ramón Aurín on: The new RC213V

Ramón: “Last year we had some problems, especially with the rear side. From the moment the prototype came, we saw this improved and basically from Pol’s side he needed more stability in the rear, more rear grip and it looks like this bike goes in this direction. For Pol it’s very good, I think for everybody, when you have rear grip it’s better. For sure they make some bad points, for that we need to improve, and this is what the test is for – to improve these small points. The engine looks like it will be a little bit better.”

Santi Hernández on: The new RC213V

Santi: “Unfortunately, we couldn’t test so much earlier. The only time we tried the new bike, the proto-bike, was in Misano and unfortunately we couldn’t try in Jerez. We except it’s a different bike, the concept it’s completely different: engine, the bike itself, aerodynamics. Many things are quite different to what we had in the past and we would like to try the proto-bike in Sepang. We hope it’s better and we improve the areas there we are struggling. Of course, after the Jerez test we saw the potential of the new bike and of course it will not be like the perfect bike but it’s quite interesting to start the season and see where we are. We won’t have the perfect bike, but we believe we can be there.”

Ramón Aurín on: Targets

Ramón: “For everybody in MotoGP I think the target is to get the title. For us, we need to go, see where we are and to be always with top riders and fighting for the championship. After some races we will see where reality is and where we will go. The target is higher, after it depends on the situation, we need to except one or another.”

Santi Hernández on: Targets

Santi: “When you are coming from the last two years where you have not been ready to fight for the title, I would like to say we want to do the best that we can. But honestly speaking, when you are working with a rider like Marc, for me the goal is to win the title. After we’ll see how the season is, how every race is, and then after that we will see where our real goal is. But if you are asking me now, what is my goal, it’s to win the 2022 title with Marc.”

What would you ask Santi?

Ramón: “I want to ask Santi after his experience with a super successful rider, where you have always had good results and good podiums, how do you manage when results are not what you expected?”

Santi: “Wow. Unfortunately, last two years were not the best for us and it was different. With Marc in 2019 our worst result was second. It was a big difference in situation but for me the most important is to believe in what you are doing, like the rider. I mean, of course the rider wants to win. Of course, the rider wants always to do the best, but even for you, you don’t need to think like you are doing something bad. Of course, many times you have doubts in yourself, but in my case, I try to believe every time in what I do and try to do like I always do. The difference after is the result but the most important is to believe in what you are doing and enjoy the moment. This is the most important.”

What would you ask Ramón?

Santi: “I would like to ask to Ramón if this year you will be more flexible in the morning time to leave the hotel and give your mechanics 10 minutes extra to sleep.”

Ramón: “I mean, maybe to the mechanics yes, but not for me. I am so nervous, I’m afraid to arrive late in the paddock. Normally I am a little bit too early. But this is the character of my side.”

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