The LCR Hondas of Alex Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami saw the chequered flag just once during the season-opening Qatar MotoGP rounds.

After both riders crashed out of the first race, Marquez was then also caught out halfway through the second, while Takaaki Nakagami limped home outside of the points in 17th place.

It was far below the kind of form expected by the riders and team, which has 2021-spec RC213Vs on both sides of the garage this season.

"I made a small mistake on turn 14 and I lost my front tyre which is hard for the team," said Marquez, who took podium finishes during his rookie season at Repsol Honda but was just 16th when he fell on Sunday.

"Not easy days for us here in Qatar, but I think we are there, we are competitive, we are constant. Now, it is time to improve, to learn. I don’t want to say any excuses. I will be more competitive and stronger in Portimao.”

Nakagami, the top Honda rider in last year's world championship, briefly featured in the points but soon began to lose ground.

“It was a tough day again. The beginning was ok, but after seven or eight laps I felt a drop with the front tyre which then made it really difficult to hold on to the bike and especially in turning," said Nakagami, who began the race in 16th.

"We had a lot of struggles during the race and then I found it difficult to keep the lap time and stay on the bike.

"Of course, we are not happy about this position. However, last weekend I had a crash and today we finished the race and we have to think about it positively. We have gathered a lot of data here in Qatar and now we look forward to the next race in Portimão."

Marquez's Repsol replacement Pol Espargaro was the leading Honda rider in both races, albeit in 8th and 13th.

 

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