LCR's Cal Crutchlow finished MotoGP pre-season testing holding seventh on the timesheets in Qatar, 0.782s behind Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo but only 0.190s from the fastest Honda of Marc Marquez.
In typical no-nonsense fashion, the Englishman - who also suffered a painful Friday fall
- gave his opinion on three of the main talking points for Honda heading into the new season at Losail on March 17-20.
“The electronics were a lot better in the first two days, and now [on the final night] we've found some problems. But it's good, because now they've got another week to look through it.
“We are so far away from Ducati electronics-wise at the moment, that to be doing what we're doing is not too bad. Because still, on all the straights, we're having the traction control coming on, because the parameters are wrong, or something like that. And that's in a straight line, or from corner to corner. So we still haven't got that right yet. We will, but it takes time. It takes a lot of time.
“From what they've done from Sepang and Phillip Island is a good step. But there's still another good chunk they could do, there's no doubt about that.
“The bike is very physical to ride, same as last year. Maybe even worse than last year, when we wanted it to be easier. We fight a lot with the bike still. We know Qatar is special, and it's not been the greatest for Honda over the years. So maybe at some other circuits it might be a little bit better.”
Former Honda rider Redding second fastest for Ducati:
“The problem is our reference at the moment, and Honda's reference, is Scott Redding. He was doing 1m 57s and 1m 58s last year in the race on a Honda, and he's now doing 1m 55s. And not to take anything away from Scott, because he's doing a fantastic job and he's riding really really well, but he's not better than Marc Márquez. That has to be the reality we have at the moment.
“[Redding's] flying, and we can give him some tenths for motivation from changing teams, but you don't give him the whole lot. He's riding fantastic, but there has to be something you can show to Honda. He didn't suddenly just become probably the fastest rider over this test overnight. It's because he's changed manufacturers.
“I'm more positive and looking forward to the race weekend than I was yesterday or the day before. But it's going to be a slog. But we know Honda are working, and honestly, they're listening, which is the main thing. And they're listening to me, which is another good thing. And that's why I like Honda.
“I could have left at the end of last year, but I know they are listening to me. I'm not stupid, I know I'm a satellite rider, I don't get a shout on anything, but they are trying their best at the moment.”
Marquez happier after final night of testing:
“The thing is, Marc followed Jorge and could stay with him, that's the only reason why he's happy. It's as simple as that. There's nothing different, there's nothing changed. Sure, they've worked on the setting, same as what we did.
“But Marc stuck on the arse of Jorge, which was a bit rude, but so what? That's the way it is. If I was Jorge I would have pulled over and let him go, whatever. But because he sat there and was OK with it - if Jorge is going to win the race, Marc knows he can stay with him at the minute.
“That's the reason why he's more positive, I'm sure. But if he hadn't have done that long run, with Jorge, maybe he wouldn't be in the same frame of mind. He knows he can be competitive now. Marc's a winner, he wants to win, and he probably has the feeling he has the opportunity to win, or at least he's closer.”