After a tough few seasons, largely due to Marquez being sidelined at different stages due to recurring shoulder problems, Honda look set to begin 2023 with a bike that’s once again a pretender rather than a contender.
After suffering their second winless season since 2020, last year proved to be another season to forget for the Japanese manufacturer.
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But if pre-season testing was anything to go by, then Honda will find it difficult to keep pace with the likes of Ducati and Aprilia.
As expected given the winning reputation of Honda, not to mention the star-studded line-up across both its teams, the subject of Honda remaining in what can only be called a dark period was discussed during the latest episode of the Crash.net MotoGP podcast.
“There was no massive breakthrough for Marquez at this test,” said Crash.net MotoGP editor, Peter McLaren. “But. he’s Marquez - his race simulation was only three or four tenths off the Ducatis. So he’s closer over a race distance.
Former Grand Prix racer and BT Sport commentator, Keith Huewen, also shared his views: "I don’t think they went for the banzai lap at the end of the test. I think they were still working through their programme.
"So I don’t think we’ve got a level playing field. Brad Binder, for example, really went for it. So it’s a snapshot that isn’t relevant.
"Honda are there or thereabouts. Marquez will be there or thereabouts come the day of reckoning, he’ll pull something out of the bag. But it’s still not a happy Honda camp.
"Is Portimao a good test track for the rest of the season? Not in my view. We’re not getting a clear view, apart from that Ducati are streets ahead."
When asked if Marquez, who has repeatedly shown an ability to overcome a bike that was not considered the best in order to win races and championships, could return to such ways in 2023, Huewen was not so sure.
"I would normally say yes," added Huewen. "But I think in the past couple of years, things have gone [downwards]. We have so many good riders on good bikes."
Download Episode 80 at the following links...
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