The Portimao tests ended in the name of Ducati, but if anyone can’t be satisfied, it’s Honda. Marc Marquez ended Day 2 eight tenths off the record time of Pecco Bagnaia, leader of both days, and is resigned to the lack of improvement on the bike four months later, after the November test in Valencia.
Precisely at Ricardo Tormo, in the test that followed the last race of last season, the Spaniard underlined the need to take not one step forward on the 2023 prototype, but two. Unfortunately for Marc, Honda has remained exactly where it was then despite the parts brought to the Sepang tests a month ago and those brought to Portugal this weekend.
The 2023 season always starts in the Algarve in two weeks and Marquez knows that his RC213V won’t be ready. Aware of this, he has two options: either to complain and sink or to seek the limit with the material he has. As always, he opts for the second alternative.
After a winter in which he placed himself totally at the disposal of Honda and the directives of the engineers, led by Ken Kawauchi, Marquez asked that they leave this last day to him and his team to be able to concentrate on arranging the bike with which he will line up on the starting grid in the first race of the year. Although he has shown a calm tone in front of journalists, the feeling is that Honda has taken tiny steps in this month and a half, while Ducati has found a way to put an extra gear on the Desmosedici with which it has already won the title.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“We are not where we want to be, it is evident. The Hondas go from 12th to 14th place. But now I gain nothing by making my blood bitter. If you start the season with a negative mentality, then it becomes very long. Of course, if you go like Pecco it’s much easier for good things to happen. If the race were tomorrow we would fight to finish between fifth and tenth position”, summarized Marquez, who finished 14th right behind Joan Mir, his new teammate in the HRC box. The multiple world champion had no hesitation in acknowledging Honda’s lack of development since testing the bike at Valencia.
“Unfortunately, some of the parts Honda brought in didn’t work as well as they hoped. Today we rode with the same bike we ended up with in Malaysia. We’re talking about the same concept as last year, and with this we know that we’re dealing with better circuits and others where we won’t do well”, continued the Catalan, who however was able to perform a Sprint Race simulation.
“We are still a long way from what the front riders can do, but I was able to be constant and understand how to go fast and where to set the time. But it’s one thing to understand what you need, another is that you get several tenths per lap”, concluded the rider from Cervera.
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