Honda has now gone 18 races without a MotoGP race win, matching their longest victory drought - from the 2008 British GP to 2009 Dutch TT - since returning to the premier-class in 1982.

The main reason for the drought is obvious, Marc Marquez - who has won a record 56 races for Honda - was sidelined from last July's season-opener to round 3 of this year due to complications from a fractured right arm.

Honda claimed just two podiums during Marquez's absence, by younger brother Alex last season, but since the #93's return it's become clear that it's not only physical issues that need to be overcome for victory number 57.

All Honda riders have suffered front-end falls this season, including big accidents for Marc Marquez and team-mate Pol Espargaro at Jerez.

The Spanish Grand Prix also saw Takaaki Nakagami join team-mate Alex Marquez in using last year's 2020 chassis, with which he took Honda's best finish of the season so far with fourth place.

But Espargaro expressed his confusion at so many 'individual' Honda packages.

"We are all using different packages. [Marc's] using one, I'm using another one. And the satellite team are using another one," Espargaro said. "I think we are going too much individually and this at the end is hurting the group."

Asked for his opinion on the current situation at Honda - which is currently fifth in the constructors' standings, ahead of only KTM - Marc Marquez said:

"Honda is working a lot. They bring a lot of new items and we are trying many different things. [But] everything becomes more difficult when we don’t have a very fast rider. If you have a very fast rider in the front, every session on the top, everything is easier for the engineers.

"We are coming from a very difficult season in 2020 when they had a rookie [Alex Marquez] in the garage, then Crutchlow was not in his best level, he was struggling too, then Nakagami was riding the 2019 bike. All these things didn’t help.

"It looks like now everything is going in a good way and they are working very hard. But it’s true that we need time.

"On my side of garage, I need time for my ideal physical condition. This is the first thing. But the second is Honda is working hard. Looks like every time the way is closer."

Marquez described the changes made to the RC213V during his absence as "not bad" but admitted, "It’s true we’re missing something."

"First of all, we need to be careful on my side of the box. I always try to be honest to the engineers and my technicians. My comments are not as precise as always. Every practice I’m riding different. I start the weekend riding in one way, and I finish the weekend riding in another.

"It’s not because I want to change the riding style. It’s because I get tired, then the weight position on the bike is changing and then the set up is changing. This is one thing.

"It’s true that one of the plans on Monday’s test in Jerez was try to come back a bit to what I raced with in 2020 Jerez for example. But I was not able to test because with the physical condition it was impossible.

"Maybe it’s one of the targets of this weekend also: try to understand where we are now and where we were in the past."

 

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