The final MotoGP pre-season testing has just concluded in Qatar where Yamaha riders seemed to dominate throughout the three days sessions. They’re well on their way to bringing the fight over to Honda, who’s currently suffering from major issues concerning their 2020 Honda RC213V.
The combined timesheets for all three days showed that Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT), and his teammate, Fabio Quartararo all sitting comfortably at the top of the timesheets. The fastest Honda, however, was Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) who concluded the final testing session in P7.
Splitting the top three Yamaha riders and Honda’s multiple world champion are Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), and the other Suzuki rider, Joan Mir. While Sepang concluded that Marquez was suffering due to his injuries, Qatar opened up a more serious issue in the Honda camp.
It seems that all the riders are having trouble finding cornering stability with the 2020 Honda RC213V. Handling issues seemed to be a major factor in not being able to push the bikes the way they wanted to. Both the Marquez brothers and Cal Crutchlow met with the gravels during the Qatar testing and with the first round only two weeks away, Honda is in hot waters.
Marc Marquez was also reportedly seen ‘borrowing’ Takaaki Nakagami’s 2019 machine to compare with their current setup. The chassis for the 2020 Honda RC213V looks to have an issue that might not be able to fix in time for the first round. If that is the case, we might just see all the Honda riders switching back to last season’s bikes in order to be competitive.
According to Alex Marquez, “We are suffering all the Hondas. We need to turn the bike and find stability at the entrance of the corners. There is still a lot. In the fast corners, we lose a lot. The circuit was something that could be expected, but I didn’t expect it to be this much. I don’t feel very good on the bike, especially in the middle of the corner. Let’s see if we can change the set-up.”
With that being said, the Losail International Circuit isn’t really a track that favours the Hondas. One thing is for sure, betting against Marquez has its risks but if he is able to fully recover, there’s no doubt that he’ll be there at the front fighting for the championship. With this current issue, Honda will hopefully develop a bike that suits a wider range of rider instead of the Spanish ‘alien’ who dominated MotoGP last season.