Honda did not know how to understand the motorcycle

If we went back in time, it would be impossible to find a parallel between the Sling which swept the 2022 preseason tests and the Honda, which competed for the rest of the course. In the beginning an unnatural position of marquez on the bike, due to a rotation in his right humerus that forced him to undergo surgery for the fourth time, due to a performance inferior to that of winter. But the results reflected how the problems of the Japanese brand did not reside solely in the injury of a pilot. the third of Pol Espargaro in Qatar It was a joy that faded among doubts, until it became the exception and not the norm in a year where the revolution ended up taking its toll.

The Honda was “so different from previous years” that for Márquez it was “almost as if it had changed manufacturers”. The prototype of the RC213V It grew in length, changed the weight distribution and gave up its hallmark through a loss of power that, a priori, served to balance a bike that in preseason was “incredible”. The Japanese mount dominated on one lap and also in race pace during the tests, the sensations convinced all the members of the team “except for some small problems in the front end”, which went from being insignificant to ending up relegating the structure more laureate of world towards an unusual position that has not been experienced since 2004.

the march of valentino rossi it established a before and after within the golden wing brand, giving way to a year of transition where, as in 2022, Repsol Honda did not record any victories on its scoreboard. This season the Japanese firm has been the only structure that has not visited the highest step of the podium and although these records also coincide with the absence of its most dominant figure as at that time, although in the case of Mark the absence has been part-time, the brand is aware that it cannot depend solely on one pilot. But I did listen to and appreciate the sensations of him on the handlebars of a mount, which misled the ilerdense from the first moment.

With the numbers in hand, the RC213V of 2022 It was a more competitive prototype than its predecessor and that fact has been reaffirmed during the season. The Honda has gained in time per lap and that was what Marc felt in the tests of Malaysia, a scenario in which he compared the current motorcycle with that of 2021 to opt for the newest option. Where do the problems come from? From the irregularity of a mount it is difficult to predict how it will behave from one track to another. Márquez points directly “to the character of the motorcycle”. “This year a lot has changed and for my style it’s worse, I feel more uncomfortable”, he adds. But he has not been the only one within a brand that has lost his brother Álex, heading to ducatiand Pol Espargaró, back to KTM.

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The instability of the Honda has wreaked havoc in the Japanese garage and for Márquez, the path to follow is one that leads them to “find a motorcycle that during a championship can be consistent on all tracks as Ducati has done”. The factory has already set to work for this under the guidance of a pilot who has made his wish clear: “I want a winning motorcycle.” And despite the fact that there are many who have accused the brand with the golden wing of developing a frame with which only Marc has been able to function and be competitive, it is the ilerdense himself who does not want to take a step back to recover those motorcycles who had among their bouquet of virtues the grip in the front area.

The eighth champion is willing to receive a motorcycle that combines the strengths of the prototype that they developed for this 2022, together with the comfort that he felt in the previous models. But everything doesn’t go through that aforementioned front ten: “Perhaps a ‘Márquez-style’ motorcycle, the older style, wouldn’t work well for me now. Before the bikes were very low and short, now they are becoming big and tall”. Marc is aware that the championship evolves and that brings with it the need for the driver himself to do so as well. Staying at the top means accepting new challenges that come from the progressions and this is a time to renew or die, where the eighth champion is clear about his bet.

The short-term rather than long-term objective is to fight for the World Cup again and regain his dominance in MotoGP. That means that with a competitive bike, Márquez must also be competitive, and it doesn’t seem that he finds it too complicating after having shown how, with this Sling, he has been able to shine again and be above the possibilities offered by the motorcycle. Therefore, in the factory it only remains to trace the path to follow to return to the top and develop the 2023 machine, facing a winter where the man from Cervera has already written his letter to the wise men: grip and stability are the starting point.

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