Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez rode around the RC213V’s still-apparent acceleration problems to claim a senstional third place in yesterday’s Qatar MotoGP at a track where he was a full second off the pace during testing just two weeks ago.
Honda’s attempts to calm down the snarling V4 started with a reverse-rotating crank which will go a little way to alleviating the problem as the bike will now rotate forwards around the engine instead of backwards. But as the electronics engineers are now unable to write their own anti-wheelie algorithms, HRC will have to find more clever stuff. Another problem, at least for Honda, is the extra grip the Michelin rear offers over the old Bridgestone…
There is some speculation in the paddock that Marquez and Pedrosa have also received a new clutch from HRC which has helped with their engine braking issues but that has not yet been passed down to the likes of Cal Crutchlow.
“The winter has been very hard for us because I saw we were one second, one second and a half from the top guy, and I was a little bit worried honestly. But never do we give up, we work a lot and we know that we had many, many problems so we fix and work really hard and also Honda is supporting and working hard also from Japan,” said Marquez, speaking in Qatar.
“On the race, I was thinking to honestly finish fourth because I saw the difference to Pedrosa was big and I say, ‘OK, I finish fourth and Argentina will be the next race’. But then I say, ‘If we are here, then I will try to finish second’.
“During the race was two mentalities, one was ‘you must finish the race’ and the other one was ‘come back and attack’.
We worked really hard all weekend to try to find the best package for the race. We knew that we were losing a lot on the last sector, so we checked well which corner of the last section [was causing him to lose most time] and we saw that it was acceleration. We lose a lot there, even in the race, and for that reason it was really difficult to overtake Dovi,” he said.
“Anyway, I am happy with the work of Honda, of my team, because they give their one hundred per cent, I give my hundred per cent and in a circuit that two weeks ago we were one second slower, today we are here and we finished just two seconds behind Jorge in third position, so I am happy to come back on the podium.”