Honda flounders in the two MotoGP races in Qatar without Marc Marquez. Pol Espargarò admirable, Alex Marquez worker. Stefan Bradl ready for a new test.
Honda needs Marc Marquez to return to the MotoGP podium quickly. On April 12 he will hold a decisive medical examination in Madrid, from here the okay for a “monitored” return could arrive. Cabroncito has put Portimao in his sights, where he could take to the track for free practice and test his real conditions with his pulse. HRC awaits its spearhead, after a disappointing 2020 season and an uphill start to 2021. Doha is certainly not the best track for the RC213V, Marquez hasn’t won here since 2014, but he has never done worse than 5th place.
HRC leaves Qatar with Pol Espargarò 13th and Stefan Bradl 14th. Too many mistakes in the race by both, Alex Marquez crashed, Taka Nakagami out of the points. The positive aspect is that the newcomer Espargarò finished just 6 ″ from the winner despite two off the track. The negative data is that the Japanese brand is in sixth and last place in the constructors’ ranking. “We are not going home in the best position. But this race is never easy for us, we know it and we will pass it – explains Alberto Puig -. Now back to Europe, a new MotoGP season begins in Portugal. We will use what we learned in Doha and work to improve in the future“. Side note: Marc Marquez flew quietly from Spain to Losail in recent days for the second dose of the vaccine. But without leaving any trace …
Ups and downs of Pol
The former KTM identifies qualifying as the priority to work on for the next race. In both Losail Grand Prix he never went beyond the fourth row. The only consolation prize is the fact of being the first Honda rider at the moment, but it certainly cannot console. “I’m not interested in being the first Honda, I’m not looking for this. I want to be first of all“. With the RC213V it still has highs and lows, but it is perhaps acceptable. Pol Espargarò would have preferred to start immediately at the top, but this bike does not allow it. His forecasts and those of the team were perhaps too optimistic. Driving style requires necessary modifications that require work, laps on the track and patience. “I’m not worried, the speed is there, we are fast, I think I can have a brutal season. But we have to change on Saturday, if we start from the front we will fight for the podium in every race“.
New test with Bradl
Honda will hold another private test in Jerez this week. The goal is to absolutely improve the feeling with the front of the MotoGP. Stefan Bradl made a mistake at the start of the last GP with the starting system. Same personal mistake made the previous Sunday. “With this system, clutch management is a bit more complicated. That’s why I made a bad mistake in the beginning“. Not only front end problems, but also rear grip problems. For these reasons, new solutions will be tested in Jerez, with the hope of immediately starting a new chapter starting from Portimao. The question everyone is asking is who will we see riding the RC213V? Marc Marquez or the German test driver?
In Losail it did not go better at LCR Honda, which celebrated its 25th world anniversary. Taka Nakagami and Alex Marquez return to Europe without points. Both had problems at the front, with the two-champion finishing on the asphalt halfway through the race. The phase of adaptation to the prototype continues, awaits more favorable circuits to show what it is capable of. On the other hand, in the last MotoGP season he was the only rider of the brand to get on the podium twice. One mistake cost him dearly in Doha. “You have to learn and try to make more mistakes like that“. The union is strength and Alex remained in the pits until late in the evening, to help the team dismantle the box in view of the return home.
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