until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Honda riders say its new MotoGP prototype not 'born' well

by Valentin Khorounzhiy, Simon Patterson
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

The new-look Honda MotoGP bike campaigned by Stefan Bradl in the Spanish Grand Prix has earned overwhelmingly negative reactions from the marque's full-time MotoGP riders.

The revised RC213V was a pretty drastic departure visually, featuring a new aero layout and seat unit.

Honda tester Bradl looked relatively competitive in his wildcard appearance, qualifying as the second-fastest Honda and seeing off regular rider Luca Marini in the race (even if they did finish 40 seconds down).

But in the post-race test day at the same track, with that prototype bike now available for the full-timers to use, it was the duo from the satellite LCR team that ran it.

And, as works rider Joan Mir revealed, this may have been in part because he (and team-mate Marini) already sampled it in testing in Barcelona - with Mir thoroughly unimpressed.

"I tried the bike in Montmelo," he revealed at the mid-day break of the test. "I think there were some positives and some negatives, but not the right direction, and I decided to continue with my [current] one.

"The bike of Stefan is not the bike that we will continue developing.

"I will not test today that bike."

Joan Mir, Honda, MotoGP

And, over at LCR, both Johann Zarco and Takaaki Nakagami ultimately arrived at the same conclusion.

"Uhmmm... yes, I had the opportunity for some runs, some laps this morning," said Nakagami, pausing several times - either exhausted by the 84-lap programme for the day or trying to choose his words carefully in what was ultimately a pretty damning verdict.

"And... unfortunately I didn't feel any... positive feeling. Pretty much similar issue.

"Main issues, they are remaining, even if it looks a different bike - you know, aero, chassis, everything different.

"But on track... same feeling. Still really bad lack of rear grip, turning. I mean, same feeling.

Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda, MotoGP

"Yeah. So the laptime doesn't come, and the feeling - we tried a couple of things during the run, outing by outing we tried small things, adjustments, but two big problems [remained], yeah."

Zarco, who was the day's busiest rider at 89 laps, struck a similar if slightly more optimistic tone.

"I tried it. We did a few runs on it, and we couldn't really take from this bike very positive comments," he admitted.

"Only one area was better, but the rest, the laptime was not coming.

"It's not the bike yet that we can say that 'okay, we did a step'. [But] this information is all useful and helps Honda understand the direction to take."

Zarco said he would never tell Honda and its test team to completely discard the prototype, but admitted he didn't think he'd be testing it again.

Johann Zarco, LCR Honda, MotoGP

"[Otherwise] we would've continued the test on it. The way the bike is born, should give normally a better performance. And when it's not giving [that better performance] after [trying] a few set-ups, we have to put it on the side."

Honda did also have something new on the engine side, which its riders were cagey about but did see as a positive - with Mir indicating he felt Honda has now finally found the direction of development.

This was because whatever was tried helped address the weakest point - turning.

"It's true that we lose a lot in other areas, but areas that there is a lot of margin to improve - so that gives us a direction."

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks