Winner of the opening ten races last season, reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez has sunk 49 points from title leader Valentino Rossi heading into his home Barcelona event this weekend.

Marquez suffered his second non-score of the year last time it Italy. While his Argentine DNF followed a clash with Rossi, Mugello saw Marquez slide off unassisted - a graphic illustration of the handling problems he is experiencing with the latest RC213V.

The biggest is a lack of rear grip, which causes the young Spaniard to rely heavily on the front tyre during corner entry. "When the tyre grip dropped I had the same problems as always: Big slides on the entry, no support on the rear and then I was riding only with the front tyre," he said.

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"Then in the last laps the front tyre starts to move and you're pushing 100% every corner. You can save it from time to time, but not all the time."

Marquez feels the root cause is engine character: "I go into the corner and it [the engine] is locking a lot on the rear". But engine modifications are not allowed (for Yamaha and Honda) during the racing season, leaving Marquez to pin his hopes on electronic and chassis fixes.

Electronic changes did help calm the engine on corner exit at Mugello, but Marquez suggested the corner-entry slides will require mechanical mods: "If we cannot change the engine we must work on the chassis to try to cover a little bit this problem."

Looking ahead to Barcelona, Marquez stated: "This weekend we head to Catalunya for my home GP and we have a lot of work to do to prepare the bike. I've had good results at this track and won there last year, so will hope to do the same in front of all my fan club!

"Let's hope we can have a good battle and put on a good show."