Honda’s difficult winter continued in Portugal last weekend at the final two-day test of the pre-season, with Marquez ending up 14th overall behind new team-mate Joan Mir.
Marquez says he rode the bike he finished with in the Malaysia test on Sunday in Portugal and did feel “better” as he worked on race set-up.
But he concedes even with this, Honda is not going to the opening round of the 2023 season able to fight for the win or challenge for a podium.
“Unfortunately, some of the things that Honda expected would work on track was not working like we expected,” Marquez said when asked to sum up his test.
“And then I was riding the same bike today as we finished with in Malaysia. It’s true that we changed the set-up a bit, my team organised a good plan and we did a few steps and I was feeling better and better.
“I was able to work on the rhythm, because when you try different things every run it’s more difficult.
“But now, for Portimao we cannot think about the podium or the victory. We have to think about what we have, try to take the best. Also, the conditions will change, the rubber on the track.
Insight: What we learned from the final MotoGP pre-season test of 2023
“We will see, but at the moment if tomorrow was the race with the conditions we had on track [in the test] we can fight for fifth to 10th, I believe.”
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Marquez wouldn’t comment if he felt the 2023 Honda genuinely has untapped potential to be able to fight at the front of the grid, but says he “cannot start a season with a negative mentality”.
“We will see,” he added. “Of course, we need to believe in it and at the moment in the standings everybody has zero points. Then when we pass five, six races you will understand immediately where you are.
“But it’s true we need to make a step, to keep improving. But you cannot start a season with a negative mentality. You need to start with a positive mentality, trying to find the best.
“If you need to fight for the top five, try to fight for the top five. If you need to fight for the top 10, try to fight for the top 10.
“This will be the key of the season. If you start a season with a negative mentality, it will be a very long season with 42 races.”
Marquez did attempt a time attack lap on Sunday in Portugal, but had his first lap interrupted by an issue.
He felt the lap time was “not bad’…
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