Motorcycle Racing

Honda “needs more steps” than Kalex MotoGP chassis

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

The Honda rider made his long-awaited return to action on Friday at Le Mans following over a month on the sidelines due to injury.

Marquez ended Friday eighth overall and secured a place directly into the Q2 qualifying session on Saturday morning.

The eight-time world champion also tested Honda’s new Kalex-designed chassis for the first time, which he used to set his best lap of the day, as the Japanese manufacturer looks to improve on its difficult start to 2023.

Though he feels it is a definite improvement, he admits it’s not the magic solution Honda needs to cure all of its woes and return it to the front of the grid permanently.

“It’s another step in some areas in this circuit, but we need more steps,” Marquez cautioned when asked by Autosport if he felt the new chassis was the solution to Honda’s problems.

“It’s not the only step we need. We need more steps. Still, we are losing too much. We are too much [relying] on the brakes, because we lose on acceleration on the straights.

“So, we are on the brakes a lot, for that reason we are pushing the front a lot, for that reason all the Hondas are crashing too many times.

“But this is the way to keep going, and I’m a rider who will keep pushing to try to understand the way for the future.”

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Marquez crashed twice on Friday; once in FP1 and again at the end of FP2 while he was pushing to secure a place in Q2.

Given he has already missed three rounds with injury, Marquez felt not regressing to his usual all-out style would have went against his nature.

“I know that 90% of riders will take it easy and step by step,” he said.

“But I am not like that, and if I come back it’s because I’m ready to race, I’m ready to push and I’m ready to work for the team.

“And to work for the team is to ride the bike on the limit. Of course, I can accept and drop and be half a second slower like the other Hondas and be out of Q2.

“But it’s not my way. Today I managed the limits. The only crash that was possible to avoid was the morning crash, but it was related to the tyre allocation.

“It was the one where I said ‘this was not necessary’.

“But the afternoon crash, when I passed on the straight it was P8, so then I was pushing, I said ‘I will try to improve the lap time’ because like this I will be in Q2. If not it will be a yellow flag and they will not improve, so…”

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