Honda has endured a torrid few years, with the 2023 season so far proving just as difficult despite LCR’s Alex Rins ending its victory drought dating back to 2021 in April’s Americas GP.
Since late last season, Honda has been working with German chassis manufacturer Kalex on bike development, with that first manifesting itself in the form of a swingarm.
This collaboration has evolved further into a full chassis, which was debuted by HRC tester Stefan Bradl at the post-Spanish GP test at Jerez earlier this month.
Marquez was absent from this test as he was forced to miss the Spanish GP due to his ongoing recovery from a broken thumb sustained in the opening grand prix of the year in Portugal.
The Spaniard was declared fit to ride on Wednesday morning by Honda after doctors advised he miss the Spanish GP to avoid doing any damage to his thumb that could have potentially ended his career.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Weather permitting on Friday morning at Le Mans, Marquez will have the new Kalex chassis at his disposal to evaluate in FP1.
“Yes, one of the reasons why this race is important is to test things,” Marquez said on Thursday at Le Mans about the new chassis.
“It’s not the best planning for a [race] weekend to test things to get the best result, but then there are three weeks without competition and Honda needs the information and not only I’m going to test it, but also other Honda riders.”
The new chassis was met with positive reviews from Bradl at the Jerez test, though the German didn’t do many laps on it after crashing while using the new frame.
Factory Honda rider Joan Mir was due to put some laps on the new frame in the Jerez test, but on his first flying lap his RC213V suffered an electrical issue and he was forced to stop.
Mir said afterwards that the chassis definitely felt different on his out-lap, but couldn’t say much more.