Another track and another set of issues for Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa, who on Friday soon found that Mugello's snake-like succession of S-bends was not to his RC213V's liking.
While Le Mans' tight, first gear corners posed a myriad of issues for a machine hamstrung by acceleration defects, Pedrosa explained on Friday afternoon that Mugello's lack of numerous heavy braking zones deprived the '16 Honda of showing its strongest characteristic; braking.
This in turn led him to try and make too much time up through the high speed chicanes, a problematic strategy as “once you're pushing too much to recover” you risk losing substantial time by running off line.
“No difference [to Le Mans], basically,” said Pedrosa, who ended the day eleventh fastest, at the beginning of a frank media debrief.
“There are some negatives also. The strong point we have is the braking. There is only one strong braking so we can make up some time there but in the rest of the track we are mainly losing. Still the gap is very big. Still it's a struggle to find a good compromise on the track, especially because here, after one turn there is another.
“Once you're out of the line or pushing too much to recover some time, you're going to sacrifice the next turn and lose even more. It's complicated to find the right balance between the current turn and the next to keep up the speed.”
The three-time world champion, whose continuation with HRC until the end of 2018 was announced ahead of the Italian round, believed one moment in FP2 exemplified another of the Honda's issues: turning.
“I don't know if you saw the last image of practice with Aleix [Espargaro] and I. I was completely out of the bike, hanging out, trying to make it turn into the last turn, making the correct line to exit. He was just cruising to the inside, cutting metres on me with almost no effort.
“It is clear we are not turning and not having corner speed with the correct turning. We are losing a lot of time. Here we have a lot big turns. We need to improve. This is clear. Unfortunately we don't have many tools now. We tried many things from the test until now but the bike still remains very similar so we are touching the limit of the bike often.”
With Honda's engine development frozen until the end of the year, Pedrosa now feels that HRC's engineers must focus on improving the machine's electronics, which “still have some room” to provide a smoother, effective feel for its riders.
“[With the electronics we can improve] Acceleration. wheelie, grip, traction control... We did some [improvements in recent races], yes. But it might be because of our bike or because we don't know how to use the tools of the software. We still have some room there to make the bike more smooth and more stable, especially on the traction control.”
Asked which area the current Honda needs improving in the most, Pedrosa remarked, “I'm not sure I can tell you exactly. Obviously [I'd ask for] an improvement in the engine, the chassis… We need somehow to make the electronics work better for us. I think we're still way down in the knowledge of the new software.”