Sidelined for two of the five opening races due to an eye injury, COTA is the only circuit so far where Marquez has shown victory pace, charging from last to sixth after a technical problem.

But Marquez is always quick around COTA and the Portimao result, where he was one of three Hondas in a closely matched group, painted a clearer picture of the all-new RC213V’s current predicament.

“Portimao we were too far,” Marc Marquez said on the eve of this weekend’s Spanish MotoGP at Jerez . “Okay, sixth is not too bad, but we were too far from the podium, from the victory.

“We struggled a lot in the race but anyway we will try to find way the way to be faster here in Jerez. Of course, already we have some ideas to try, not only the bike also myself, I need to keep improving and we working on it.”

Currently eleventh in the world championship and 38-points from Quartararo, Marquez indicated there is little to lose by starting some of his Monday testing work during the grand prix weekend.

“We are in a different situation [to the championship leaders] and my Monday test starts tomorrow. So from tomorrow we will start to try some things, not new things, because first of all we need to find the base,” he explained.

“The others have a good base and are fighting for the championship for that reason. When you have a good base you are able to be fast everywhere. It’s there where we need to work. Try to find first of all a base that we feel comfortable with and from that point start to try the new things.”

But exactly why the new bike has struggled after performing so well in pre-season testing and the opening Qatar weekend - where team-mate Pol Espargaro led much of the race on the way to the bike’s only podium to date - is still unclear.

Marquez suggested reduced front-end performance, compromised in search of rear grip, may be costing them more at tighter tracks like Portimao.

“It’s true that it’s a bike that in big circuits is working really good, like we saw in the pre-season, like Malaysia, Qatar. But as soon as we arrive in small circuits and you need to turn in a short time that is where we struggle a lot and it’s where we need to understand,” explained the eight-time world champion.

“Whether the solution is close or far, we don’t know., I believe the potential is there but we need to find the way. Find how to take profit from that potential.”

New bike difficulties for the likes of Honda and Ducati have added to the debate over whether the newly-confirmed reduction in winter testing, down to just 6 days ahead of 2023, is enough.

“If you receive a good package then one day is enough. You can race straight away, second day,” Marquez said. “But if for some reason you have problems or what you receive is not working as the team expect, then you have margin enough [with six days].

“The new engine you will try in Valencia, the first day, and that will be the same engine you will receive in Malaysia after the winter. And you will race with that engine. Then all chassis and swingarm work can be done during the season.

“So I agree [with the reduction]. Because you cannot keep the same testing if you increase the races. You need to find a balance because there are not more weekends in a year.”

Marc Marquez: ‘Big respect for Lorenzo’

While Marquez is very much focused on the future, this Saturday will see five time world champion and former-team-mate Jorge Lorenzo inducted as an official MotoGP legend.

“As he says, ‘I’m not a great rider, I’m a champion’. And he was one of those special guys out there with a strong personality. You can agree or disagree with him but he had his personality and he was really strong,” Marquez said of his fellow Spaniard.

“When he was in his sweet moment, he was nearly unbeatable and was riding in an incredible way. So I have a big respect for him because I learned many things fighting against Jorge.

“Of course then, when he was my team-mate, it was in another atmosphere we can say, another mentality.

“It’s impossible to make a ranking [of champions]. And I don’t like that. Because each rider has his period and each rider has his years and when Lorenzo was riding well, he was riding very fast and constant, with a strong personality, which is what makes the difference.”