Honda yet to find the direction it wants with MotoGP bike

Despite showing some impressive signs of recovery over the winter, and benefitting from a new concession system that came into force this year, Honda has struggled to make much progress at the beginning of the 2024 season.

Approaching this weekend’s French Grand Prix, it sits at the bottom of the constructors’ standings on just 13 points, having failed to break inside the top 10 even once during the opening four rounds of the year.

Honda has been working on a new ‘lab bike’ whose development is led by test rider Stefan Bradl, but both factory rider Joan Mir and Johann Zarco were unimpressed with how it behaved on track — with Zarco even going back to the previous-spec bike at the recent Jerez test.

Speaking about Honda’s recent run of form, Puig said the team is still figuring out where it should be heading with the development of the RC213V.

«If we can understand the direction to go, we can try to take steps forward,” he said. “Of course, many of the things you discover are not automatic. You probably won’t be able to use them in the next grand prix, but you can start preparing other parts.

«We have to continue doing what we are doing. We are working hard. Honda is not sleeping, this is something I have to say. The only certain thing is that we have not yet been able to find the direction we hope and want.”

Puig’s remarks are in contrast with the comments made by race rider Mir, who felt Honda had found a ‘clear direction’ with its MotoGP concept at the post-Spanish GP test. That was despite the 2020 champion also rejecting the ‘lab bike’, which he had ridden previously in a private test.

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Puig made it clear that Honda is leaving no stone unturned in its bid to return to the front of the grid and is now taking advantage of its entire four-rider roster to test new parts, which are being introduced at an increasingly rapid rate.

The Japanese marque has also been working closely with its satellite team LCR this season, which means both new recruit Zarco and protege Taakaki Nakagami have a role to play in shaping the RC213V.

«I can say more or less what we have been saying in recent months: We are trying many, many things, and we are trying to find a solution because we are still not clearly where we want to be,” he said.

“We have four riders and we are trying to use them all to try different things. So everyone is trying different things. We are trying to find the best possible combinations, of course.

«Stefan Bradl tested the bike and we collected a lot of data. The sensations were good. It’s not bad. It’s not perfect, there are things to improve.

“I can’t give a specific comment, but I think the Jerez test is very important, because we have all four drivers trying different things, different combinations, and at the end of the day we will have some important conclusions.»

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