Marc Marquez ended a troublesome 2015 with two falls on the final day of MotoGP testing in Jerez before admitting that, although Honda's new engine has potential, it is still some way off “the best level”.
An issue with electronics caused the four-time world champion to high-side through turn three before he tucked the front of his RC213V at the final corner while pushing the bike to its limits late in the afternoon.
Having solely ridden the 2016 Honda engine with updated spec electronics on Thursday, Marquez did back-to-back runs with the new machine and the 2015 engine he used to finish third in the world championship through the day.
“Today I had two crashes,” explained Marquez. One big high-side, something in Turn 3, on Doohan corner, I go in with some gas, and never happen in MotoGP, but maybe we have to understand well this new electronics. I was with gas consistent, but in one moment I lose really aggressive the rear wheel, and then I fly! But lucky I was well.
“The second one was we did the comparison with both engines and everything, and Honda asked for us to be on the limit to try to compare well, and the limit on the brake point with the Michelin is dangerous.
“So we did a good three days, we got a lot of information, but I think that at the moment, this new engine, it has a little bit more potential compared to the old one, but still we are far I think from the best level. The good thing is that from the first time we get this engine, it looks like it is working well, it looks like it has some potential, but we must be working hard this winter to be ready for the first test next year."
Asked in which area he felt was the greatest priority for improvement over the winter break, Marquez replied he was hopeful Michelin could improve its front tyre while Honda tames and boosts the acceleration of the new engine ahead of his next outing in Sepang in February.
“I think Michelin will work on the front tire especially, Honda must work on the mechanical side, to try to be smoother, to try to gain on the acceleration, and by electronics, we have this so we have to understand it well. But the electronics is the thing that if you don't ride, you don't understand, so we must work on the mechanical side, and the Michelin, sure, they will improve.
“Now we test the new engine. The thing is that we didn't expect that the electronics would be like this, so far behind. But we already expected that we would have more problems than with the Honda software, because it's more limited, the new Magneti Marelli electronics.
“So we must work on the mechanical side. Because in the end, this will be the electronics for everybody. So looks like maybe Ducati have more experience, so for that reason they are one step in front. We don't have experience, and we try to fix all these problems. And so we must work on the mechanical side to try to avoid some problems, because by electronics, some problems we have will be difficult.”
Marquez was still able to post the second fastest MotoGP time of the day with a lap that was just two tenths of a second shy of Scott Redding. At the close of Friday he admitted it appeared as though Ducati is currently “one step ahead” in terms of preparation for 2016 but was unable to explain why.
“Maybe the Ducati was working already with Magneti Marelli. Maybe Ducati software, I don't know exactly where, but when you start like this from everything new, you can be one step in front, one step behind, but in the end, the main target is arrive ready at the Qatar race.
“So these three days, the progression was good, but of course not enough, because the electronics take a lot of time. The team did a great job these three days, because they were working here until 1 at night, here again at 7 in the morning, so they did a great job. So thanks to them, but we must keep pushing this winter.”