MARQUEZ MASTE Young Spaniard back to his best to claim crucial win in Argentina after a torrid 2015 season
Marc Marquez blasted back to his best by taking a brave and commanding victory in Argentina.
His victory saw him top the Motogp title table and also showed the clear progress his Repsol Honda team have made after a frustrating winter development schedule left them off the pace.
Marquez’s performance had all the hallmarks of the style and aggression he showed during his record-breaking 10 straight wins at the start of the 2014 season.
Still struggling to drive out of corners with the below-par acceleration of the 2016 Honda RCV213, Marquez was forced to return to what he knows best, which means an ultra-aggressive, on-the-edge riding style that many thought wouldn’t be possible with the absence of HRC electronics and the incredible Bridgestone front tyre.
But, as Honda have come to grips with the control electronics and Michelin have started to serve up a better front tyre, the double world champion has been able to return to what works best for him
“We were strong at this circuit because I like it and I go well here. But also, there’s only one big acceleration area here – and in that acceleration we were losing two tenths to the others. We have strong points on the bike though, going into the corners and turning the bike. Now we have to find a compromise, something that gives us the acceleration. But I believe in Honda, and they are working very hard on it.”
With no engine development allowed during the year under Motogp regulations, it’s going to be difficult for HRC to find a solution to the problem – especially with a bike that goes against all the Honda norms and appears to be significantly down on power.
One track where that may affect them is next weekend’s COTA race at Austin, where driving off the corners could leave Marquez struggling to maintain his perfect unbeaten record at the American circuit.
“We know that we are struggling with acceleration and that there is a lot of accelerating there – but we will see how we manage this year.”
Despite problems with the performance of the Repsol Honda, Marquez now leads the championship for the first time since his victorious 2014 season.
“If you said to me when we were in Malaysia in February that I’d be leading the championship now, I would have said that you are crazy. Honda are working really well, we are focused and together, and this is the most important thing.”
‘If you told me in February that we’d be leading the title now, I’d have said you were crazy’
SHINICHI KOKOBU, HRC BOSS
the engine crankshaft turns backwards and this changes many things. We wanted an engine that was more of a package with the bike. Sometimes a powerful bike is too much for the handling or turning; we wanted something more like the Yamaha.”
Reversing the rotation of the crankshaft brings Honda into line with the rest of the new Motogp bikes. The effect this has on the bike is small, but it changes the way a bike goes into, through and out of the corners.
Typically a bike with a reverse rotating crank will be more stable on the brakes, understeer slightly in the corners but wheelie at a higher speed. It encourages wider, sweeping cornering lines. Critically the reverse rotating crank can be heavier without disturbing the handling. This has the benefit of improving the rider’s throttle connection now that advanced electronics have been reduced.
Last year, Honda’s crank rotated forwards which made it unstable on the brakes but which also helped it hold a tight line going into corners. Honda clearly feel there’s more to gain by giving their riders the reverse crank.
‘Sometimes a powerful bike is too much for the