Honda’s MotoGP riders Pol Espargaro, Takaaki Nakagami and Alex Marquez were left impressed by the new 2022 RC213-V after two days of testing at Jerez.
The Japanese manufacturer suffered a tricky 2021 as its riders struggled to tame its temperamental prototype, Espargaro and Marquez in particular suffering for outright speed unless cooler temperatures were present, while Honda riders also topped the chart for the most crashes across the campaign.
In a bid to increase its overall competitiveness across all its four riders Honda have been busy developing an all-new version of its RC213-V for 2022, the bike making its debut in the post-San Marino Grand Prix test before its three currently fit riders-Marc Marquez still recovering at home with an eye injury-shared the challenger at Jerez.
Espargaro was left satisfied following his run to the fourth fastest time on Friday with the new machine, revealing Honda had managed to unlock further pace with an updated aero package as well as making “good steps forward” in other areas.
“Even though I’m still suffering a little from some of the small injuries I have I can still ride, this test was especially important to try the new bike,” explained Espargaro.
“The bike we tried at Misano was successful, and here I have the feeling that we have a long way ahead as we need to make a lot of laps to make decisions on the different parts that we have that will be fitted on the new bike (for 2022).
“Overall though it’s going well, the bike feels good and we are fast even with the strong wind conditions we had.
“We were able to try a different aero package that made us a bit faster, it’s something that’s difficult to play with but we are making good steps forward and just need to keep working.”
LCR’s Nakagami-who led the way at the end of Thursday running with a 1:31.313s effort- meanwhile was impressed with the ease he was able to drop his lap-times on the new bike versus the 2021-spec RC213-V, the Japanese ace able to lap at similar times to the leaders in May’s Spanish GP at the venue despite having not having completed significant mileage thus far.
“On the second day we tried working with the new bike, yesterday was different because we focussed on doing many laps and we have to share the bike with Pol (Espargaro) and Alex (Marquez) so today we didn’t get so many laps,” said Nakagami.
“But on lap four I was already to set a 1:37.6s and I didn’t push really hard and the lap-time is already there so after that we’ve tried to find an improvement with the feeling on the front of the bike, it was pretty good.”
Marquez concurred with his team-mate that Honda’s new machine was showing good potential early in its development, stating that “it’s nice to ride” and adding that it was encouraging that “all the riders have the same kind of comments”, a fact that will make finding further ground regarding the final package the marque brings to the pre-season tests early next year all the more straightforward.
“I had a good feeling, the potential and base is there and it’s nice to ride, which is important,” said Marquez.
“I unfortunately didn’t get a lot of time on the new prototype bike today (Friday) and when I had it I got the worst of the windy conditions on track but I’m excited we were able to try some things.
“We have a lot of work to do still, a lot of input needs to go into it over the winter but it looks like all the riders have the same kind of comments which is important.”