Marc Marquez and Honda may have made a last-minute breakthrough at the end of MotoGP pre-season testing in Qatar, but they still need to do 'a bit of a reset and come up with a new plan' for the delayed season-opener at Jerez.

Following the coronavirus shutdown, the Spanish circuit is awaiting the green light from the government to hold two successive MotoGP rounds on July 19 and 24.

Marquez's crew chief Santi Hernandez feels the first of those events and perhaps also the second will be 'like new tests' as the Repsol Honda team plots a revised course after winter cornering problems were traced to the latest aerodynamics.

"A little of what worries us is that after the Qatar Test, we tried a lot of things during that weekend, we had an awful lot of problems, and in the end we came up with an answer to solve the problems. But, logically, you can't forget that for us this pre-season was a bit complicated because a lot of things that we tried, it’s not that they didn’t work, it wasn’t because of those improvements but rather because of the aerodynamics and now we have to do a bit of a reset and come up with a new plan," Hernandez told the official MotoGP website.

"For us, the first race, and even the second, are going to be almost like new tests. You have to try to evaluate what will be the best base to start the first race with and especially to end up understanding and confirming that what we tried in Qatar on the last day was the right way to go.

"What worries us a bit is especially the engine braking, the brake points, trying to get more grip, the confidence with the front end… these are things we struggled with in the pre-season."

Part of the solution in Qatar was a switch back to the 2019 aerodynamics. It will therefore be interesting to see if the 2019 Honda fairing has duly been homologated again for this year, or if a hybrid version of the 2019 and troublesome 2020 design has been chosen.

"On the last day [in Qatar], we realised that for some reason we had veered from the path a bit," Hernandez added.

"The fact that we took a step back made us see things positively and I think that is the most important thing, but it won’t be easy because we haven’t had a normal pre-season, just because of Marc’s injury and the problems we had, it wasn’t easy."

As part of the Jerez proposal, all MotoGP teams will get a day of testing at the circuit on the Wednesday prior to the opening race weekend.

"For us, being able to do a one day test before the Championship starts will be very important, mostly to confirm the feeling we had in Qatar was correct and that it wasn’t just a fluke... From then on, we’ll surely have to improve a lot of things but the most important will be going out on the first day at Jerez and getting the good feeling we had on that last day in Qatar.

"It would be very positive because he’ll want to say that the path we chose, in that last minute before the bell rang, was the correct one and that will give us the confidence to plan for the rest of the races."

Hernandez confirmed that HRC is working on a holeshot device, to lower the bike at the start of races, but said he doesn’t know if it'll be ready for Jerez.

Meanwhile, turning to the short 10-12 race season currently forecast, the Spaniard expects to see 'a lot of surprises' early on but that nothing changes as far as their own objectives; winning a seventh premier-class crown.

"I believe that in the first races we’re going to see a lot of surprises, especially because of this break. When we arrive at a circuit after the Christmas break, at the first test in Malaysia, there are always really fast riders and there are others that don’t pay attention to all that and are further back," Hernandez explained.

"Others struggle more to adapt to the bike after the break, this is why I say that there could be a lot of surprises. I believe that Marc should be able to do what he always does: think about his strategy and what’s in his DNA and, from there, about each race.

"I always say that a World Championship isn’t won in either the first or the last race, it’s won by increasing your point tally and always giving it your all at every race...

"In the end, our objective is to win the World Championship with a rider like Marc that, as we’re seeing, is breaking a lot of records and the only thing that matters to him is victory. For us, nothing changes. What others are doing doesn’t matter.

"Every season has its points and this year it’s going to be a bit different and, even, weird because of the situation, but that doesn’t change our objective. We go out to win. Nobody will change that, not coronavirus nor 10 races nor 20. We’ll go out as we always do; to win."

 

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