If Marquez flexed his muscles in yesterday's race, it was Honda's turn today during testing at Jerez. They continue to work tirelessly on the RC213V in Japan, the latest and most obvious new element a frame covered with a carbon fibre 'skin' to vary its rigidity. Bradl tested it over the weekend and today Marquez took a turn on the test rider's bike. It seems he really liked it, seeing as he set his best time on that very bike.
“I focused on the new components today, without going into too much detail - explains Marc - Stefan's bike is a new concept, different from what I usually use. I made two exits to be able to make some initial comments, one with new tyres and the other on used tyres, and I set my best time ”.
How is it different?
“I can't say too much or they'll kill me - he jokes - I can say that we're working to improve confidence with the front and this bike has positives and negatives, perfection doesn't exist after all, and you always have to find the best compromise. The positive thing is that my comments were very similar to Bradl's, which is important in light of the next tests”.
For now though, there is no mention of the new frame being used in races.
“That's not in the plan - says Marc - Honda continues to work of course and there is continuous development. I've tried some new things on my bike too, to improve engine brake management, which has giving us some problems during the first rounds. We were able to improve that over the weekend already and today I've identified some more interesting things”.
Many ask whether the Honda is the best bike or only in the hands of Marquez. The Spaniard is quick to reply.
“Every can be more or less successfully adapted to one rather rather than another, I'm pleased with where I am. Crutchlow and Lorenzo were also quick today, but it's true that I'm able to exploit the Honda effectively in the race”.
His final comment regards Rins, his new rival for the title. Is his arrival a good or a bad thing?
"If I say it's a good thing, he'll win the next race for sure - laughs Marc - I think it's for the best, both for the show and for us, but it's nothing new that there are many competitive riders. In recent year Dovizioso and I have fought for the title, but in individual races, the slightest mistake can see you miss the podium or be ruled out of Q2. We saw it here at Jerez too,with Morbidelli and Quartararo at the front”.