Honda «took a step back to make two forward» with MotoGP updates

Honda has been working behind the scenes in private tests to improve its troubled 2024 package, though its riders didn’t receive some hoped-for improvements at Barcelona last weekend.

Johann Zarco did race with a new aerodynamic package, while an updated engine was used by Mir and Luca Marini also.

But this did little to help Honda at Barcelona, with LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami the lead HRC rider in 14th ahead of Mir, Zarco and Marini – all of whom outside of 30 seconds from the race victory.

The low-grip nature of Barcelona accentuated Honda’s traction woes, with Mir noting that the updated engine configuration made this fact worse.

However, he believes it is a direction Honda needs to persevere with as the scope for improvement with it is higher than what he raced previously.

“Honestly a nightmare,” Mir said of his Catalan GP. “I had very bad feelings all weekend.

“As I said, I expected a struggle on this track. We are using a different engine configuration, and I don’t feel good with it. The spin level is probably worse than the other one, and then the top speed is much less.

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“So, in the other races I was able to be a lot closer to the first one, to the group, and probably being able to fight with the group of the top 10.

“Here I didn’t have any option to do it. So, we probably took a step back to make two forward in the future. But at the moment it’s tough and the situation is like this – it’s even worse.”

He added: “The margin [of the updated engine] is higher. And in the short-term, it’s probably better to receive some upgrades. So, it’s the right choice.”

Marini agreed with Mir’s feedback but also noted that he was able to actually enjoy riding the bike now.

“With the new upgrade, the spin is more,” the Italian said. “It’s one of our problems, but [on] this track the spin is a problem for everybody – I think also for Pecco [Bagnaia]!

“So, we have to be focused and smart to understand in which area to work.

“In my opinion, we are doing a great job, we just need to wait for more upgrades and find more performance because at least now the bike is [at a point] where I can enjoy.

“I feel not in an incredible way but for sure much better than in the first races of the season. So, now I can ride, I can defend myself and I can attack, so this is great.

“But still, we miss performance. So, we are waiting for this. Maybe in Mugello we can have something more.”

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