It would seem that Honda’s 2019 RC213V is a one-rider bike. Only reigning champion Marc Marquez can get anything like the best from it and it’s not surprising, as HRC will listen to him first and other riders maybe a little bit.
Multiple MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo has not adapted well to the thing and not-at-all champion Cal Crutchlow can’t work it out either. The Briton says the new engine is very powerful but wheelies all over the place and it out of control. We have been here before in 2016 when even Marquez couldn’t deal.
HRC’s unofficial motto has always been ‘necessary faster’ and now the RC213V is as quick as the Ducati in a straight line but where the Desmosedici can stop and get into the turn, the Honda struggles. The flipside is that in the turn, where the GP19 is still found wanting, the Honda is jubbly. Of course, Honda only need one rider to win a championship and that, for the moment, is all they have.
Lorenzo got a bit closer to Crutchlow at Le Mans but is still whittling on about making ergonomic changes to the bike. Ok, he missed a load of pre-season testing but five races to work out how to get comfy on the thing? He is supposed to be The Spartan. You know, the race of people so hardy they left their babies out on freezing cold nights to see if they were fit to live. Pfft.
Aleix Espargaro was again miffed with the amount of grip not available from his Aprilia at Le Mans. He came out with a smattering of points but said his pace was ‘unbelievably slow’. There were only four riders behind him - three KTMs - and Joan Mir, who crashed on the warm-up lap.
Mir and Karel Abraham both went down in the same place, at the same time but in separate incidents. Paddock Tefals believe it was due to the carbon brakes not being up to temperature and then biting as the two braked into turn three. Abraham went first, pushing Johann Zarco into the gravel, and the Czech rider was then collected by Mir’s Suzuki.
Here is what it looked like from Zarco’s point of view:
Zarco said he could leave France with a small smile even though he finished more than 30s behind the leader. The Frenchman said he actually felt good on the bike during Saturday’s action but Sunday was a different kettle of Camembert as the tyre dropped off.
Of course, he has to be more positive after having his pants well and truly pulled down by KTM boss Stefan Pierer. Zarco said some naughty words about the bike after the Jerez round and then Pierer said some equally-naughty words about his rider as a counterpoint. The man with the debit card always wins.
Pol Espargaro was at the other end of the KTM scale, finishing in sixth and playing to the bike’s strengths but said he needed a little more corner speed. The RC16 is still some five kilos or so overweight, but that’s what happens when you use steel instead of aluminium…
Pecco Bagnaia said he had no option but to crash into Maverick Vinales at Le Mans. The rookie attempted to put the heat on Aleix Espargaro, who he said caused the Monster Yamaha man to slow more than expected, and that the crash was unavoidable. Kids, eh?