The new RC213V: that’s what the Honda drivers say


Pol Espargaró, Takaaki Nakagami and Alex Márquez last sat on the prototype of the new Honda in Jerez in November. What are your expectations for the first MotoGP test of the calendar year 2022 in Sepang?

Honda brought the prototype for the 2022 RC213V to the Misano test on September 21 and 22, which Stefan Bradl handed over to Marc Márquez after 33 installation laps. One day later, Pol Espargaró also got a first foretaste of the 2022 season. The eight-time world champion then missed the Jerez test on November 18 and 19 after an off-road training accident because of his visual impairment. In addition to Espargaró, the LCR drivers also tested Alex Márquez and Takaaki Nakagami the new Honda.

After the Jerez test, Honda drivers were impressed by the progress, and they now have two months to think about it and talk to the engineers. Where does the new motorcycle have to improve before the Sepang test and what do you expect there?

“The bike is better, but it’s too early to say how much better it is,” replied factory rider Pol Espargaró after pondering for a moment. “First of all, we have to get the motorcycle out on the track, together with the others, and see where we are. We’re not the only ones playing this game, and we’re not the only ones bringing a new motorcycle. Everyone is doing this and everyone will take a step. In a few days in Malaysia we will see how good the bike is in comparison with the other bikes. Now it makes no sense to say that the bike is much better if we improve by two tenths – and the others are maybe half a second faster. ”

“After that we have to wait for the first races of the year,” continued the 30-year-old Spaniard. “Even if we shouldn’t be at the top in the first few races, that doesn’t mean anything. The new motorcycle takes time. Unfortunately we only have five days of testing. I think they’ll be enough, but if not, don’t panic. We’ll have more days and if all four riders can deliver their full performance, that also means that the bike will be much better faster, ”said Pol, counting on a quick return of his Repsol team-mate Marc Márquez.

Regarding the Honda drivers’ wish list, Espargaró said: “The rear wheel grip was important for all of us. But in recent years we have also seen that the Ducati were super strong on the straights. That is the key to being able to overtake and fight for race wins. Now there will be more Ducati on the grid, if we want to have a good season we have to be faster on the straights so we can try to fight them, gain positions or even defend them. Everything is important and everything counts. But we have to stay calm and see what happens in the next two test drives. “

Takaaki Nakagami agreed with Pol and confirmed: “The new bike is much better than the 2021 bike. But of course we still have to try out a lot of things because it’s not 100 percent yet. The Jerez test was more about understanding which direction we were going – and the comments from me, Alex and Pol were in the same direction, which is very good. Now the two days in Malaysia and the three days on the Mandalika test are going to be very important to be ready for Qatar. The test in Jerez went very well, but you never know whether it will be the same in Malaysia and then on the Mandalika Circuit – with different conditions, on a different layout and with a different tire contingent. ”

Alex Márquez agreed: “We still have to test the bike on other tracks. In Jerez the impression was good, in Misano the feedback from Pol and Marc was also similar. Misano and Jerez are a bit similar, but Malaysia has a different layout. “

The younger Marquez added: “Honda will certainly bring us improvements because the comments we three made at Jerez were really similar. But we still have to work on the bike to get the most out of what seems to be there. And it’s great to have that feeling back. “

As a reminder: In three weeks’ time, the regular drivers will continue their work on the racetrack for the Sepang test on February 5 and 6 – whether with or without Marc Márquez was not yet clarified at the HRC presentation. But one thing is certain: test driver Stefan Bradl is already in action in Jerez during the Superbike World Championship tests (January 26 and 27) and at the shakedown in Malaysia (January 31 to February 2).

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