Marc Marquez says Repsol Honda “found a little bit” during in-season tests at Jerez and Mugello as he prepares to fightback in France after recent difficulties at Le Mans.

Marquez accepts Honda’s major weakness on acceleration has been highlighted by the Bugatti circuit’s stop-and-go layout, having crashed in 2016 and 2017, which has prompted interest around a new aerodynamic fairing.

While not wanting to give away precise details on the recent tests at Jerez immediately after the Spanish raec as well as at Mugello, Marquez feels Honda has something to work on but made performance gains which he hopes to evaluate at Le Mans this weekend.

“The first part of the season has been really good for us but we are still trying to improve,” Marquez said. “We did an important test in Jerez and in Mugello, especially Mugello, and we found a little bit more but it is important to still work.

Repsol Honda Team

“We are in a good way which is the most important thing and here in Le Mans is one of the race tracks where we normally struggle more. It is one of the worst race tracks in terms of results in the past but it is a track that I like.

“Last three years our weak point was acceleration, where we were struggling a lot more and losing a lot, too much, and then we tried to recover in the corners. This year we’ve improved a lot in terms of acceleration and I hope that will be in another way for this weekend.”

Despite being quietly confident, Marquez is wary of the expected challenge from Yamaha – who have enjoyed a 1-2 result at the past three consecutive races at Le Mans – while the reigning MotoGP world champion is also bracing for fights from Ducati and Suzuki for the podium.

“Normally Yamaha here is very, very fast. We will see this year, especially Yohann because he’ll have extra motivation,” he said. “But even Ducati, everything is very equal and Suzuki is also there so it will be tough to be on the podium.

“The first target is to try to be on the podium and then if everything is fine we will try to fight for the victory.

“This weekend looks like we will have good weather and then we will be able to work hard to find the best set up.”

Marquez claimed victory in 2014 at Le Mans but has failed to reach the podium since that race having lost out to the recent dominance by Yamaha at the French circuit.