Cal Crutchlow has confirmed that Honda riders are still using the 2016 RCV chassis, having focussed their efforts on engine and electronics developments in the years since.

Crutchlow race-developed the frame during the second half of 2016, after it had been turned down by factory Repsol riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, taking it to two race wins.

The other Honda riders then joined the Englishman in using the frame from the start of the 2017 season and, Crutchlow believes, have continued to use it ever since.

"I think all the riders are using the same as me, or what we chose in 2016 and continue to work with," Crutchlow said during Monday's post-race test in Barcelona.

"It's just we've had no updates since then. So it's not like we prefer something else or don't prefer something else. The concentration was always on the engine and the electronics.

"Maybe we'll have a chassis later in the year. I don't know. I know that it's an area where I think we can improve. Also the other riders think we can improve there as well. So I expect that to maybe be the next step. But when, I have no idea.

"We'll continue with what we have, because it's obviously good enough to be competitive."



Weighing up the RCV's form so far this season, which has seen the machine claim four wins - three for Marquez, one for Crutchlow - the LCR rider said:

"I think our weak point is the turning of the bike and the physicality of the bike. But the strong point is we are consistently fast."

How do you think you can improve the turning?

"I think it's more the overall package of the bike. The Honda has been the same for quite a few years now in that area, in the chassis and the chassis design of the bike.

"But as I said, it obviously works. Marc won the last couple of titles. We're consistently fast, Dani's been consistently fast over the years with this package. It works in one area, it doesn't work very well in the other, so we're trying to improve in the other area.

"I'm not saying that's what we need, because I don't know, until we try something else, we don't know if it's better. You don't know until you try.

"We'll see what Honda will do from now on, and which way they will point the development and direction."

Crutchlow denied that Honda needs to step up development in the face of victories for Jorge Lorenzo and Ducati at the last two rounds, insisting the RCV, in its current form, is good enough for Marquez to go on and claim this year's title.

"Yes, and I think that Marc is good enough to win a championship, he's proved that many times before, even when the others have had better packages than him," he said.

"I don't think they [Honda] need to step up, I think we need to continue to do our job and let the others not be as fast at other racetracks."

Crutchlow set the sixth fastest lap at the test by the time he left the circuit.

"We're pleased with how the day went. We had some small electronic updates to test and the new Michelin front tyre," Crutchlow said.

"We tried all parts of the electronics - traction control, anti-wheelie, engine brake. Some different settings. Some worked, some didn't. But the main thing is to give Honda the information so they can go away and look into it.

"I think if you spoke to everyone in the paddock, they will have had some update on their electronics today. Because this is really the time to be able to try it, because in a race weekend it's too difficult to understand in a 45-minute session."

And the 2019 prototype front tyre?

"No doubt the feeling is different. Again, some positives, some negatives for me. I think some riders found just negatives, some riders found just positives. It's good that Michelin are able to come here and bring something.

"Obviously we tested with them here a couple of weeks back, they couldn't bring anything for the race weekend, because everything was already set. So I think they've done a good job to be able to bring it to the test, and most of the riders will have tried it today for sure."

On a different topic, the LCR Honda rider said he will not be taking part in next month's Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race, having been rumoured to join HRC's factory entry as it tries to wrestle the 8 Hours crown back from Yamaha.

Crutchlow, fourth in Sunday's race, is sixth in the world championship but only eight points from top satellite rival Johann Zarco (fourth).

Marquez meanwhile leads the championship by 27 points from Yamaha's Valentino Rossi.


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