Marc VDS Honda team boss Michael Bartholemy says he’s expecting this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix to show up any weaknesses that remain in his riders’ set-ups, as they head back to Europe and to the tight and twisty Jerez circuit for the first European race of 2018.
Lining up both reigning Moto2 world champion Franco Morbidelli and 2017 runner-up Thomas Luthi on their machines, the Belgian admits that it could be a difficult weekend for them.
"After a reasonable start to the season in Qatar and Argentina we struggled to give both riders a set up they felt comfortable with in Austin. This we need to address this weekend in Jerez, a tight and twisty track that we know from the past punishes severely any weaknesses in set up. This is important for us, as it will give us a good indication of exactly where we are with the bike and a clearer idea of which direction we need to work in with the set up.
“This weekend will be another challenge, but I'm confident that both Tom and Franco will step up and take advantage of the opportunity to increase their understanding of the Honda RC213V."
There’s an even greater challenge ahead for Luthi, too, with the Swiss rider sitting out the team’s pre-season test at the track back in November – something he’s hoping his team’s experience will help him overcome.
"I'm looking forward to racing in Europe again at Jerez. It's unfortunate that I missed out on the November test at the circuit, but it's positive that my crew were working there and that my crew chief Gilles Bigot already has some experience with the Honda RC213V at Jerez. Hopefully this means we will start the weekend on a little bit of a higher level. When I look back at Austin we couldn't really find any improvements on Saturday or Sunday and this is something we need to change in Jerez, with the goal being to make a step each day and to secure some points on Sunday."