Honda is in the midst of one of its worst seasons ever in MotoGP, with it winning just one race and sitting joint last in the manufacturers’ standings alongside Yamaha.
So tough has the situation been at Honda that it has led to incessant rumours that Marc Marquez will break his contract for 2024 and join Gresini Ducati.
While both parties have dismissed this, much has been made about the significance of Monday’s test at Misano – though Marquez himself has moved to play this down in recent rounds.
Honda test rider Stefan Bradl rode the bike the factory runners will use on Monday this weekend in a wildcard at Misano, though neither Marquez nor Joan Mir has seen any of the data.
It appears the 2024 prototype won’t differ much in terms of performance, but Mir – who crashed out of Sunday’s San Marino GP – would rather see one major change that sacrifices other areas, than see little improvements everywhere.
“Honestly, the first impression on the first exit will be the most important one because if we try a new concept of bike that they say is completely different and we try it and we cannot say something on the first exit because we need more laps to understand, and we start with this, then it’s a bad thing,” Mir said when asked by Motorsport.com if bike performance or a mentality shift is what he wanted to see the most from Honda on Monday.
“I would like to see something completely different, a bike that probably requires a different style that we could see some potential in some areas but a huge potential in some areas.
“Then, we will try to match everything. But honestly, what I want is this: I don’t want small changes.
“I prefer one big change that helps one specific area a lot and makes the others worse, than small steps in every area.”
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
It’s understood Marquez’s main consideration for his continued future at Honda is who team boss Alberto Puig can hire on the technical side.
Marquez has given him a hit list of engineers he thinks will help boost the project.
When asked by Motorsport.com on Sunday about the test, Marquez remained conservative in his response, and said he is simply only going to be looking at the performance of the bike.
“What you are looking for in a test is more performance,” he said. “For me, it doesn’t matter the to do the lap time – I just want to be faster. If I need to brake earlier and go out faster, or if I need to brake later and go out slower [I don’t mind].
“But just when I try things, of course I want to understand the way to do the lap time [but] the way to ride is not the same set-up for a fast lap and for a race distance.
“But I evaluate all the things I try by the performance, and it’s what I will do tomorrow. Bradl was using the bike this weekend.
“The way to ride it looks a bit different, but the performance with him was not a big difference.
“But let’s see. I want to wait, I don’t want to be infected by the comments of other riders.
“Just I want to try the bike with a clean mentality and give the best comments to the engineers.”