MARQUEZ SEES THE QATAR TESTING MOTOGP SPECIAL
Honda man finally gets his RCV dialled into new Michelins and spec electronics
Marc Marquez says he can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel after a long and difficult winter coming to grips with Motogp’s new Michelin tyres and control electronics package.
Honda have been struggling right from the moment new technical regulations for 2016 came into place. HRC engineers have spent every waking hour to find a way out of the darkness and a solution to the problems that have plagued not only Marquez and team-mate Dani Pedrosa but also the satellite bikes of Cal Crutchlow and the two-man MARCVDS team.
Working feverishly right up until the final minutes of last week’s threeday Qatar test, Marquez admitted it wasn’t until the dying moments that they found something which allowed him not only to finish the test fourth overall but also happy with his race simulation time.
“Honestly, I’m very happy, because we have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. We made a huge step. We saw that in the lap time, but also in our pace. The last run of the test was when I finally felt better – when I did the best lap time and when I felt really good with the bike.
“It’s still not enough, and we still need to improve, because in the end until we’re not P1 we’re going to have to push more, but I have to say thanks to my team – Honda helped a lot, but the hard work of my team made a huge step that gave us a big difference.”
After some seriously anxious moments at the first Sepang and final Qatar test, HRC appear to have rectified the issues with engine rideability and built up an understanding of the new electronics.
And with those problems potentially masking a compatibility problem between the bike’s baseline set-up and the new rear-focused Michelin tyres – the polar opposite of last season’s Bridgestones – Marquez told MCN that it’s taken until now to get to the bot- tom of the RCV’S pre-season problems.
“I will not tell you where the change was because if someone else is struggling then they will know too! But the problem is that we arrived in Malaysia struggling with the electronics – and lost three days concentrating on them. Phillip Island is a special circuit, and the bike was working there, more or less.
“But this is the first time the electronics were working well, where we were happier with them, and we were able to concentrate on the set-up of the bike. For some reason, when we tested with Michelin, we never changed a lot from Bridgestone, but here we made that change and it looks like it is the right way forward.”
Concentrating on the geometry and the balance of the bike for most of the three days at Losail, it seems Marquez’s solution to the issues was somewhere in the way their set-up put weight over the front-end. And with it fixed, he has been able to return to the way he traditionally rides, loading the frontend heavily, and braking late.
‘ This is the first time the electronics were
He also got an opportunity to gauge where he needs to make up the difference to his opposition, after managing to secure a number of laps behind fastest man of the test, Jorge Lorenzo.
“I followed Jorge - I’m sorry for him, but when I saw the opportunity I couldn’t not take it! I was struggling where we know we’re struggling – on the acceleration. The thing is, the run I did behind him was on a totally different bike from what I did the lap time on.
“I was happy behind him, but we know that following someone is always easier. I wasn’t completely happy but then we changed the set-up again and when I rode again alone I was able to get a much better feel for the bike. That was the time to have a smile on my face!”