MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Why Honda never take the easy road
Honda’s RC213V engine is a wild thing, but this is not an unusual problem for them to solve. Here’s why…
Many people will tell you the most important things about preseason tests is lap times. These numbers are endlessly analysed by so-called experts attempting to predict the outcome of the new season, rather like weirdos trying to divine the future by reading the tealeaves in the bottom of their teacups.
It’s all a load of nonsense, of course. Individual preseason lap times mean nothing. If they did, Marc Marquez would’ve won last year’s MotoGP title.
Over the years I’ve worked out a much better way of understanding what’s really going on during preseason testing. You hang out at the airport hotel restaurant, just round the corner from the Sepang racetrack, quietly supping a beer and waiting to see which teams sit down for dinner first.
This week at Sepang it was generally the factory Yamaha squad who were first at the table. Meanwhile Honda mechanics were nowhere to be seen – they were still toiling away in their sweatbox pit garages, fettling the RC213V for the 2016 MotoGP campaign, the 68th season of Grand Prix racing.
The lap times at the end of the three-day session didn’t make for happy reading for HRC. It’s star man Marc Marquez was fifth fastest, a whopping 1.2 seconds behind Yamaha’s champ Jorge Lorenzo, who floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee, armed with Michelin tyres and Windows 4 (or thereabouts) electronics. It seems his buttery smooth style works even better with less grip and fewer rider-aids. Even Valentino Rossi was almost a full second adrift of his team-mate. But it was Honda’s travails that really made the headlines.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.