MotoGP restarts from Portimao and there is no shortage of anticipation to see who is going to do what at the opening round. Much of the spotlight will be on Marc Marquez, who was required to do a lot of development work aboard his Honda during the winter.
The #93 drew up a balance of the work done at the press conference on Thursday.
“It was a demanding winter – he recalled – I tried many things and evaluated new ideas and concepts with Kawauchi, seeing as he is our new technical director. It was right to do it, because Ken wanted to understand everything related to the Honda in detail, so we moved step-by-step. The last day in Portimao is where I worked on the bike for the Portimao weekend. Until then I hadn't changed a spring to make the set-up. I'm realistic and aware that here we won't be able to fight for the podium or the win".
However, Marc is trying hard to keep his morale high.
"We got close to the best in terms of pace; the problem is the flying lap, where we're still far from the Ducatis. Usually in the first 3-4 races, you immediately understand if you are close to the fastest riders or not. Ducati certainly has a competitive package and Pecco is strong. We are far from Ducati and Bagnaia, but we are working to improve the areas where we were struggling last year".
Attention then shifted to the chassis that Kalex will build for Honda.
“I have no news about the chassis. I don't know if they are working on it or not, but we need to work on all the components. At Portimao I tested the new swing-arm brought by Kalex, while the engine is now frozen and as a result we have to focus on other areas. We certainly need to take a step forward on the flying lap".
Marc then spoke about himself and these last cursed three years.
“The last three years have been very tough for me and Honda. At the moment we are not among the pretenders to the title and therefore we have to work hard to build something important. But my ambition remains the same as when I started in 2013 and I will do my best to fight for the top positions. I believe in Honda and I know that things can change at any moment. Just think of Pecco's 2022".
One of the new features this year is the introduction of the Saturday sprint race.
“I like sprint races. The problem is that the schedule is really demanding for us riders. But I'm curious to see what they will be like, especially for the spectators. For sure in the future there will be a Safety Commission to adapt the calendar”.
One last comment was about Pecco.
“It is clear that Bagnaia is the favourite for this World Championship. At the moment we are too far away to think about how to stop him. But when we get closer, we'll understand."