Desperation grows at Honda and it is increasingly difficult to hide it. The problems of the past 2022 are still nightmares inside the orange box and the situation is becoming critical: even Marc Márquez admits that he doesn’t know how to solve them. The Spaniard has taken a load off his shoulders when he saw that his physique was once again at the level required by a competition like MotoGP but, despite the fact that those of the golden wing They have worked hard during the winter, the factory has not played its part so successfully. Four bikes in the world champion’s box were not enough to find a good feeling. And within the team they are fully aware that the crisis is already extreme. They only have a month to get ahead and pray that in Portimao the direction of the RC213V turns 180º.
For this reason, Honda makes self-criticism and already gets down to the hour. A lot of work ahead after some Sepang tests that ended with a bittersweet taste, although with the choice (by Márquez) of a base bike on which to continue developing with a view to March 26, the great start of the course. “Clearly we are not where we would like,” assumes Alberto Puig, Repsol Honda team manager after three intense days of testing at the microphones of motogp.com. “We have to keep trying solutions, We have a lot of ideas, but we have to give them to the drivers and show that they work. It is basically what we are doing”, he points out after confirming that this year’s prototype is “an evolution of what we were testing in Valencia” and that it did not end up convincing Márquez.
Of course, they are clear about where the problems come from, even if they do not know exactly how to deal with them. The top speed is not the highest, but its main dilemma lies in “improving traction”, although “it is not the only thing”. “We have to improve on many things,” he confesses desperately, in fact, Honda even sent Márquez out on one of the wingless motorcycles with the aim of gathering information and being able to analyze more thoroughly in the coming weeks, hoping to find an effective solution for the next tests in Portimao (March 11 and 12). But for the moment, the feeling inside the box is “not having met the objective”. “We have options at the engine and chassis level, but we need more time, that’s obvious,” he admits, although satisfied that he believes he has found “the right direction.”
But at least they take home two more than positive readings. The first, the recovery of Márquez: “I see Marc very well. His physical condition is much better than last year, when we were here. He now he can do many turns and the next morning he is not broken or in pain. This is super important to us.” And, second, the possibility of “having seen a lot of progress in Joan (look)”, who “continues to improve and understand the bike”. In addition, Puig puts him in the pools: “If we give him the bike that we think we can give him, we must not forget that Mir is a two-time world champion, and that is the reason why he is here.” But first, Honda must find a solution and time is not on your side.