Blistering problems with the standard tyre construction at the February test saw Michelin switch to a special heat-resistant casing not used since 2018 for the Mandalika race weekend.

While the best lap times proved similar to the test, the tyre change dramatically shuffled the performance order.

"It’s very easy to understand the situation. The strongest at the test with the normal tyres were Honda and Suzuki. And the ones struggling most during the race weekend [with the modified tyres] were Honda and Suzuki," Espargaro said.

Already frustrated at seeing their previous performance disappear as they battled persistent rear grip issues, a huge highside for Espargaro's team-mate Marc Marquez then ruled the eight-time world champion out of the race.

“Point One: Marc had many crashes and could not race. Point Two: In the pre-season we were very fast and then suddenly Michelin changed the tyre and our bike was also changed completely," Puig said.

"We still don’t fully understand what happened and we will have to discuss deeply with Michelin the tyre situation."

Michelin's Piero Taramasso Front ride-height ban 'unfair', 'cannot pick and choose'

Compounding Honda's misery was the news that Marquez's highside had triggered another episode of diplopia, ruling the Spaniard out of this weekend's Termas de Rio Hondo event.

Taramasso said "we analysed the crash data and I can exclude that it was due to the tyres".

Espargaro acknowledged that Marquez's version of events is still to be heard, but said the type of accident matched the problems they had been experiencing all weekend.

"You need to ask him [what happened]," Espargaro said. "What is clear is during that weekend, compared to the test, our problem was on the corner entry. We were had very low grip on the entry. It was causing us quite a lot of highsides on the entry and on the exit.

"You could see on the TV in qualifying, I was nearly highsiding in the entry with a new tyre. This shouldn’t happen. This was not happening during the pre-season in whatever circuit or in the Indonesian test.

"We had some problems we couldn’t improve. As I said before, there was just one change from the test.

"But you cannot say it was [just] the tyre. I didn’t crash, but Marc did four times. That was a rider mistake [also].

"But sometimes when we explain why things happen, it sounds like excuses. But they are facts. We are not fast because of this or that, even if someone is faster than us.

"For sure the problems we had, something was causing them. It was out of our capacity of improving it, let’s say."

Shorter race or flag-to-flag in future?

For Marc's younger brother and LCR Honda rider Alex Marquez, a better solution to the tyre problem at the test would have been to stick with the normal casing but either shorten the race distance (as ultimately happened anyway, in wet conditions, due to the track surface breaking up) or force a mid-race bike swap under flag-to-flag rules.

"I think it's something that [Michelin] need to [improve] for the future. Something that cannot happen again," Marquez said. "To suddenly change the tyre allocation, I mean we had been there for three days of testing to try the tyres. We saw quite clearly that the tyres didn't handle to make 27 laps.

"But for the future I think it will be interesting to not change the allocation like that, with a casing that for three years had not been in the allocation. If the tyres cannot handle 27 laps, then make the race shorter or a flag-to-flag as we saw in the past. But to change the allocation is not really fair.

"Not because we [Honda] had a lot of problems. Because maybe at another track it might be,good for us and not for Ducati and other factories. So to be fair, it needs always to be the same.

"We need to find another solution because okay we had some blisters in the rear but we had also in the front at the test [and the front didn't change]. I think working together and be a bit more transparent will be better for everybody and better for the future."

Marquez added: "[Michelin] need also to see that problems will sometimes happen, it's not always just the fault of the teams because we put the wrong pressure or something strange. Also they need to see their problems to improve. It's something normal.

"But I think we can have other solutions for this situation in the future, make a shorter race or flag-to-flag."

'I've never seen him down like this'

Turning to his brother's condition as he recovers from what is now a third episode of double-vision, Alex said: "The first days, it's normal that he was really down. I think I've never seen him down like this.

"But fortunately the improvement is there so he's feeling really good. This morning I joked to him, 'you have one more day to be fit and come!' Just trying to make him a bit more happy. He said, 'Still I cannot!'

"But he sees some improvement and it's really good for the head. I hope to see him back really soon because he's my brother and I want to see him on track but also for the Honda riders it's good to have him always on track and putting the bike on the limit."

Test rider Stefan Bradl is due to ride in place of Marquez at this weekend's delayed Argentina MotoGP.