Honda ‘doesn’t need to be pessimistic’ about MotoGP form

Honda’s downturn in performance has continued into the new campaign, with the RC213V still lagging behind rivals despite the work that went into upgrading the bike over the winter.

The Japanese manufacturer returned empty-handed from last weekend’s Americas GP, with Luca Marini finishing 16th and last in the sole-surviving Honda, as Zarco, LCR team-mate Takaaki Nakagami and factory rider Joan Mir all retired with unrelated issues.

The non-score came 12 months after Alex Rins guided the LCR team to a stunning victory at the Circuit of the Americas, a venue where Marc Marquez had previously been unbeatable on the factory bike.

But Zarco doesn’t see Honda’s lack of results in the early part of the year as a cause for concern, as he feels the brand has what it takes to turn around its fortunes.

“I’m still positive,” he said. “We don’t need to be pessimistic, because we knew that it was going to be difficult with this really new project. Honda changes so many things.

“It’s easy to say we need time, but this is it because on races where Honda was performing well [like Austin], at the moment we did the worst.

“When we compare to other bikes, we clearly see that something is missing.

Johann Zarco, Team LCR Honda

Johann Zarco, Team LCR Honda

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“[We] don’t need to be pessimistic because I really think there are no secrets on the technical side, just things to understand and we have the capacity of the people to understand it.

“But maybe we need to see it in another way, another prism, another way to see things.

“As long as I can give this energy I gave on the bike and give this explanation because that’s my quality as a rider, we will go forward.”

Honda MotoGP boss Alberto Puig admitted that he is “confused” as to why the “good improvements” made on the bike have not yielded the desired results on track so far.

He had previously suggested a big boost in Honda’s performance is possible by the summer break, as the full impact of its operational overhaul becomes clear.

Zarco said a frustrating outing at Austin will only serve as a reminder of where it needs to improve, as it continues to bring new parts on the bike and take advantage of the new concessions system.

“We maybe weren’t competitive. It’s just as well taking a beating like this to really realise some things,” he told French broadcaster Canal+.

“We really seem to be in a different system. There are no secrets, Honda will find [solutions], because they’ve revolutionised things so much that they need to find again their bearings a bit, but I’m trying to analyse it this way.

“Clearly, we want to fight and we can’t, so I’m gutted. I pedaled after the few laps I did, to sweat the frustration out and let it go.”

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