Marc Marquez has said the current defects of the 2015 Honda machine have caused him to adapt his riding style as he ended the first day of free practice in Aragon fifth overall.
The 22-year old's title defense was in tatters as early as the seventh round as two race spills left him trailing championship leader Valentino Rossi by 69 points as the series left Barcelona.
A switch to his 2014 chassis bore instant fruit in Assen as he scored his first podium finish in four races, albeit a frustrating second place after a last-lap fight with Rossi.
However it was apparent in the Dutch encounter Marquez's bike technique was much revised. No longer was he sliding his machine as he entered the corner, both wheels instead appearing in line for the majority of the race.
In Silverstone the four-time world champion explained he had begun to adapt to the demands of the 2015 RC213V after his non-score in Mugello, where it became apparent his all-action, late-braking manner wasn't working with the current Honda engine spec.
On Friday afternoon at Aragon Marquez told the assembled press details of the change in his racing approach.
“We are working a lot on especially on the engine brake, on the entry of the corner. And also I am working there to try to change a little bit the riding style. We can say that I adapt the riding style to this bike, to this character, because it looks like if I slide like last year, then I never stop the bike.
“At the moment, at least in this circuit, it is one of the biggest problems that we have until now. Try to stop the bike, it's sliding a lot the rear wheel on the brake point, but we are working on that. Of course, I cannot brake late like last year, but I need to change a little bit my riding style, brake a little bit earlier and try to keep more corner speed.
“I try [to keep the wheels in line]. I try, but it's impossible. Always I try to find the limit, a compromise, but looks like I can do it for one lap, but during all the race, I need to be really concentrated if I want to be constant. Because it looks like last year I was able to brake later and stop the bike sliding or with the front wheel.
“This year, I can only stop the bike with the front wheel, so that means we are stressing more the front tire and also it means that sometimes I need to brake earlier, because pushing the front wheel all race long is difficult."
Asked whether Supermoto will be taking preference in his training schedule as he seeks to slide the front tyre more, he said, “I already do!
“I'm doing Supermoto, I'm doing dirt track, but always. In the end is a different bike, but the feeling that dirt track gives me, I think it is really good. But I do a lot of motocross, dirt track, Supermoto. Always I try to change, many riding styles, many bikes, because then you can adapt to the conditions.
“The thing is that engine braking is working, but is not working in the correct way. It's difficult to understand from the point of view of the rider, it's difficult to understand what the bike will do, especially on the first part of the season.
“Now we work really well and it's a little bit better, but still when arrive at this type of circuits where you brake with more lean angle, then we have more problems with the sliding. But we can say that we did a very good job, and now it is a bike that is a competitive bike. You can fight for the victory if everything is perfect.”
Marquez ended the first day of free practice fifth overall. Although he finished 0.8s back of fastest rider Jorge Lorenzo, neither Marquez nor team-mate Dani Pedrosa fitted a fresh medium rear tyre at the close of the session.
The HRC pairing are at an obvious disadvantage around Aragon as it is Yamaha's official test track for 2015. Marquez went on to reveal the 'floating' feeling that hindered his early season form was present in both of Friday's sessions.
“Yes, of course they had a test here, and honestly, I expected that the gap would be even bigger today. But I think in the last run, me and Dani kept the tyres, and all the other riders put a new soft rear, and so that also makes the difference.
“But it looks like me and Dani are struggling about the floating feeling on the rear, about the grip on the exit, but still from FP1 to FP2 we improved, and I hope that we will improve from tomorrow.”