Honda riders not confident with the updated MotoGP bike

Honda riders not confident with the updated MotoGP bike

Honda riders have reacted negatively to the updated MotoGP bike that Stefan Bradl ran at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez.

The updated Honda RC213V featured a new aero setup and seat unit, which was a drastic change compared to its predecessor. However, the upgrades seem to be of no help as the outfit continues to struggle with performance.

Honda test rider Stefan Bradl showed some competitiveness in his wildcard race, finishing 40 seconds behind full time rider Luca Marini after qualifying as the second fastest Honda.

The satellite LCR team pair was assigned to ride the prototype bike on the post-race test day at the same circuit, however, full-timers sidelined the bike despite its availability. Works rider Joan Mir disclosed that this might have been due in part to the fact that he and teammate Marini had already tested it in Barcelona, with the former expressing his discontent with the new machine.

“I tried the bike in Montmelo,” Mir said after the morning test session. “I think there were some positives and some negatives, but not the right direction, and I decided to continue with my current one.

“The bike of Stefan is not the bike that we will continue developing. I will not test today that bike.”

Moreover, Johann Zarco and Takaaki Nakagami at LCR finally came to the same conclusion.

“Uhmmm… yes, I had the opportunity for some runs, some laps this morning,” said Nakagami as he tried to choose his words carefully in what was ultimately a pretty damning conclusion. “Unfortunately I didn’t feel any… positive feeling.

“Pretty much similar issue. Main issues, they are remaining, even if it looks a different bike – you know, aero, chassis, everything different.

“But on track… same feeling. Still really bad lack of rear grip, turning. I mean, same feeling. So the laptime doesn’t come, and the feeling.

“We tried a couple of things during the run, outing by outing we tried small things, adjustments, but two big problems remained.”

Zarco, the busiest rider of the day with 89 laps, had a somewhat more upbeat but similar statement.

“I tried it. We did a few runs on it, and we couldn’t really take from this bike very positive comments,” he admitted. “Only one area was better, but the rest, the laptime was not coming.

“It’s not the bike yet that we can say that ‘okay, we did a step’. But this information is all useful and helps Honda understand the direction to take.”

Zarco acknowledged he wasn’t sure he would be testing the prototype again, but he insisted he would never order Honda and its test team to throw it out entirely.

“We would’ve continued the test on it,” he added. “The way the bike is born, should give normally a better performance. And when it’s not giving better performance after trying a few set-ups, we have to put it on the side.”

On top of that, Honda had a new engine, which riders were hesitant to discuss but ultimately saw as an improvement. Mir noted Honda had finally found its path forward in terms of development. This was because every attempt made to remedy the weakest point—turning—helped.

“It’s true that we lose a lot in other areas,” he said. “But areas that there is a lot of margin to improve – so that gives us a direction.”

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