Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez has admitted that there’s still work to be done for him and the Japanese manufacturer ahead of the start of the 2017 MotoGP season, despite the reigning world champion showing stunning pace during last week’s Phillip Island test.
Marquez and his fellow Honda riders have been disappointed so far with the latest iteration of the RC213V’s engine, with the switch from screamer to big bang firing order configuration failing to bring the increased rideability and acceleration and decreased aggression that they’ve craved.
And despite an impressive performance at the test to finish second to Maverick Viñales – and to end the test with the largest amount of fast laps thanks to a number of very impressive race simulations, he says that they can’t get ahead of themselves just yet.
“We found a small road, a small way. Every day I was saying the same thing, that we were missing something on the electronics and the engine. But on the final day, especially in the afternoon we improved quite a lot. In the morning we did quite a big change and we spent a lot of time trying big things. But then in the afternoon we concentrate more in our base. We worked on these problems and immediately in every exit the lap time was coming better and better and better because I was feeling better on the bike.
“It looks like they start to understand what I want with this engine. Still it’s not what I want but it’s coming better and better. HRC is working really hard. They are trying to fix the problems that I feel. Step-by-step also we are looking to have something more in the engine.”
But while he was able to find his pace at the end of the three days, one concern that remains in the Spaniard’s mind is clearly the difficulty the firm are having in finding that base setting that he’s been chasing.
Completing over 250 laps over the three days, that amount of track time is a luxury that he’ll be unable to enjoy come the start of the season – something he admits is a worry.
“On this day last year we were much further from the top. But yeah, we spend more than 100 laps per day working on this. We spent a lot of time. But I think it’s normal. It’s a new engine. We must understand it. But it’s important to arrive in Qatar and from the beginning have a good base. During the race weekend we cannot do 100 laps per day.
“Since the first day of the preseason until now we’ve improve a lot. So we still have three days in Qatar and we will try to improve even more. Then we’ll know from the first race if the engine is close.”