Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez noted a slight improvement on the final day of the opening test of 2016 at Sepang, but admits he is 'struggling' overall with the RC213V.
Marquez highlighted the new spec-ECU as the biggest issue affecting his ability to find a consistently fast rhythm on the Honda as he ended the test on Wednesday third quickest with a lap in 2m 01.047s, but more than one second behind Jorge Lorenzo on the Movistar Yamaha.
“Today we had some problems, especially about the rhythm, because one lap here doesn't matter and the weather stopped our plan, but the same for everybody,” said Marquez, referring to the two-hour delay early in the morning due to a damp track.
“It was a little bit easier to keep the pace but anyway we are struggling and we are far from where we want to be. It's a big question mark even for us because the problem for me is that with the electronics, we are too far from the level.
“It's what I say already at the end of last season, with the new electronics maybe we will arrive at the first test and some manufacturers they will fix, or maybe some manufacturers will struggle more, so maybe we choose the wrong way but now we are trying to go in the correct way,” he added.
“I concentrated on the new engine, I didn't compare again [to the 2016 engine he first tested at end of last season] because the difference on the first day was not so big, but it's what I say – with the electronics we are far, but it means that if we are far with the electronics, it is difficult to compare things because the limit is in the electronics and we must fix.”
Marquez revealed that he never attempted to push for a fast time at his maximum level because he did not have the confidence to ride at the limit with the RCV.
“I don't push 100 per cent because if you see during these two days I don't have any crashes! I saw that the level of the bike is not ready to make the time attack,” he said.
“Of course I pushed, but not like in a qualifying practice and it looks like even when I was pushing, we are far from the Yamaha riders.”
He conceded that he may be able to close the one-second deficit to Lorenzo by pushing to his maximum for one lap, but says the difference overall is representative of his current pace over a succession of laps.
“For one lap, maybe [one-second gap would reduce], but for the rhythm, no. For the rhythm, the gap is one [second] because you are pushing always like a race,” Marquez said.
“Always I have a positive mentality and I think we will be closer on the last day [of pre-season testing]. But here in Malaysia, we are struggling and also for Dani [Pedrosa] too, because this is one of his strongest circuits. But we are working and the important thing is that the gap has reduced during these three days.
“There are many things that we still don't understand, so we must improve and of course maybe it is an option that we arrive in Qatar not ready 100 per cent, but we will try to be there, fighting for the podium.”
Marquez dismissed the suggestion that Honda should be further ahead with the development of the spec-ECU based on the data gained from the electronics used on the Open class machines during the past two seasons.
“We cannot use that data because the engine was completely different, everything was different; maybe Ducati was a more similar engine and maybe the electronics were more similar that they use, but for the engine last year with the Open bike, it was completely different and they can not use,” he said.
“Me feeling is not so bad but honestly we would like to be much better. We are really far from Jorge, from both Yamahas, but we are working and the positive thing is that during the day, we improved.
“Yesterday we were not able to ride with the hard rear, today we ride better with it. We used a lot of Michelin front tyres and we are working, so I hope to improve for the next test.”