Honda heads into the winter break with factory riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso third and sixth fastest - on combined times - during testing at Valencia, using an early version of the 2010 RC212V.
Honda, for so long the dominant force in 500cc/MotoGP, enjoyed its best 800cc season to date in 2009 with three race victories.
But the reality is that third in the championship Pedrosa was still 72 points - almost three race wins - behind Yamaha's world champion Valentino Rossi.
As such, HRC's design staff will have a busy winter ahead of them, especially with team manager Kazuhiko Yamano stating that nothing less than a 2010 title fight will suffice.
“For us, the end of the 2009 season does not mean we stop work,” said Yamano.
“On the contrary, we will redouble our effort through the winter to create a machine with which our riders can fight for the MotoGP World Championship. This is our only goal - nothing else will suffice.
“We have finished the season with a race victory, and we will come back stronger next year,” he declared.
The first test of 2010 will be held on February 3-5 at Sepang in Malaysia.