Honda is expecting German rider Stefan Bradl to close the gap to dominant Spanish trio Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa in his third MotoGP campaign this year.
The former Moto2 world champion is yet to establish himself as a consistent podium threat in his spell with Lucio Cecchinello’s LCR Honda squad.
His solitary premier class podium came during last July’s Laguna Seca round in California on the same weekend he also scored his maiden MotoGP pole position.
The 24-year-old is again riding a factory-backed RC213V and HRC boss Livio Suppo told MCN: “If you have a good opportunity then traditionally three years is the right amount of time to see the real potential. Forget Marc because it is unusual for a rider to come to MotoGP and be so fast. Last year, mid-season Stefan was going strong being in the top five and getting closer to the top guys. The same three guys are always on the podium, so to be on the podium you to be fast and have some luck. The challenge is to see if he can close the gap to podium guys. If you are fourth but 20 second behind then this is a big difference, so more than seeing him more often on the podium, it is his speed."