Pol Espargaro says Honda riders “expect a lot of new things” on the bike for the second half of the 2021 MotoGP season after a tough start to the year.
Though Marc Marquez did score Honda’s first win since 2019 with a sensational comeback victory in Germany, Honda has struggled to get close to the podium this season with its problematic 2021 RC213V.
Honda currently sits fifth in the constructors’ standings, just 24 clear of Aprilia and 98 adrift of Yamaha following the first nine races of the 2021 campaign.
A lack of rear grip has been the main issue for Honda riders in 2021, which is affecting acceleration and the braking phase of cornering, while the Honda remains difficult in qualifying trim.
A new chassis introduced for the Dutch TT was met was praise from both Marquez and Espargaro, with the former calling it the first update he’s had this year that feels like a genuine step forward.
Espargaro – who says his 2021 has been hindered by “a weakness of knowledge” due to a lack of testing – doesn’t know what updates Honda will bring after the five-week summer break, but concedes HRC has to deliver a lot to truly fix the bike.
“Confidentiality and the Japanese go hand in hand,” Espargaro told Motorsport.com during a track day at Barcelona on Tuesday.
“But obviously there is a five-week break, there has never been such a long break and that means that a lot of work is being done in Japan and that we will have parts.
“What parts? How will we have them? When? That we don’t know.”
He added: “We expect a lot of new things, not just a chassis. I think the bike needs quite a few changes to make it work and to adapt to the rear tyre.
“It might not be as simple as just putting together a chassis that works.”
Teammate Marquez was happy with the work HRC is presently doing following the chassis update at Assen, and believes that step forward will provide “motivation” to Honda’s engineers.
Having been severely limited on doctors’ orders due to his recovering right arm, Marquez said he hoped to increase his motorcycle training during the summer break.