MAR­QUEZ MASTE Young Spa­niard back to his best to claim cru­cial win in Ar­gentina af­ter a tor­rid 2015 sea­son

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Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - IN AR­GENTINA MO­TOGP RE­PORTER si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

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

MARC MAR­QUEZ

“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

han­dling’

It’s the Mar­quez and Rossi show again, but this time the Spa­niard came out on top

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