Crutchlow fears Honda has lost its main "weapon"

Cal Crutchlow says he fears this year's Honda MotoGP bike may have sacrificed the manufacturer's traditional "weapon", its front-end strength.

Crutchlow fears Honda has lost its main "weapon"

LCR rider Crutchlow said during both pre-season tests that he was struggling with the front end of this year's RC213V, and on the eve of the new season in Qatar the Briton reiterated those concerns.

He said that he was struggling to come up with an explanation for the problems, although he added he couldn't "speak" for his fellow 2019 Honda users Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo.

"I'll be totally honest, I don't really know why I have no front feeling," said Crutchlow. "I think that that's where we're struggling a little bit. I don't think that I have the front feeling that I had last year.

"We know that Honda has a good front end. We crash all the time with the front end, but as I said many, many times, it's not that we have a bad front end, it's that we have such a good front end that we take advantage of it too much, and that was our weapon.

"If somebody has a lot of rear grip, they use that as their weapon, but at the end of the race they're struggling more because they've worn out the tyre, etc.

"We were the opposite, we were pushing the front a lot, cause a lot of crashes over the years, but we were able to fight in that area, we were always good in the braking zone, and I feel that we've lost that at the moment."

For PRIME users:

Crutchlow did, however, praise Honda for the job it has done improving its engine over the winter, eliminating one weakness of the RC213V relative to the Ducati in particular.

"What we have gained is speed, the bike, the engine is very good, HRC have done an amazing job with regards to that," continued Crutchlow.

"But we need to figure out and understand why personally I've lost the front end feeling, I'm not able to turn the bike like I was before."

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images

Reigning champion Marquez was asked during Thursday's pre-event press conference if he feared that the Honda's increase in straightline speed had compromise other areas of the bike.

"We improved like you saw on the top speed and the Repsol Honda team did a great job on that aspect," said Marquez, who declared himself "almost 100 percent" recovered from his shoulder operation last December.

"Of course when you gain in one area you lose in another one, but we are working on that way, to try and keep the same power, try to be smoother.

"Always it’s a compromise, but more or less we manage in a good way. I’m happy with the step.”

Lorenzo is likewise recovering from injury, having broken his wrist in a training crash in January, and the Honda newcomer said he will need another "full month" to feel completely better.

Another area where Lorenzo struggled in testing was with the ergonomics of the RC213V, but the Spaniard said Honda has brought new pieces along for the race weekend to alleviate this.

"Honda will bring here something [new] for Marc and for me and also some specific details for me," he said. "Unfortunately not everything, but some of them. We will improve some areas.”

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont

Jorge Lorenzo, Repsol Honda Team

Jorge Lorenzo, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images

shares
comments
Qatar MotoGP deal extended to 2031

Previous article

Qatar MotoGP deal extended to 2031

Next article

Rossi: 2019 MotoGP season could be tightest ever

Rossi: 2019 MotoGP season could be tightest ever
Load comments
Why Marc Marquez has to reinvent himself as a MotoGP rider Prime

Why Marc Marquez has to reinvent himself as a MotoGP rider

Marc Marquez's romp to victory at the Grand Prix of the Americas led many to believe the 'old' pre-injury Honda rider was close to coming back to his full powers. However, the 'old' Marquez will probably never exist again and instead he'll have to adapt to his new reality to return to title-winning ways in 2022.

MotoGP
Oct 6, 2021
Why self-preservation was key to Marquez's COTA "dream" result Prime

Why self-preservation was key to Marquez's COTA "dream" result

Marc Marquez scorched to his seventh Circuit of the Americas victory in MotoGP last Sunday with a display reminiscent of his pre-injury form. However, his path to the win across the weekend was in keeping with the current reality of his physical limitations, with self-preservation on Saturday key to his Sunday success

MotoGP
Oct 4, 2021
How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike Prime

How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike

His third place at Misano made Enea Bastianini the fifth different Ducati-mounted rider to score a podium in 2021. Amid a season that has seen one rider amass the bulk of Yamaha and Honda's success, the Ducati's versatility makes for a potent weapon, but the contribution of a former leading light shouldn't be forgotten

MotoGP
Sep 23, 2021
The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career Prime

The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career

Maverick Vinales’ early debut with Aprilia has been one of the most interesting plots of the recent MotoGP rounds. The results may not look standout on paper, but a closer inspection reveals just how much progress Vinales has truly made in understanding a bike that has taken him well out of his “comfort zone”.

MotoGP
Sep 22, 2021
Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future Prime

Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future

On a day each of the podium trio could claim to be the star of the show, the San Marino GP will be remembered as a pivotal race in both MotoGP's present and future. While Fabio Quartararo demonstrated his world title credentials just behind Francesco Bagnaia's flawless victory charge, a new threat emerged from the shadows

MotoGP
Sep 20, 2021
How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future Prime

How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future

Duelling against Marc Marquez at the Aragon Grand Prix, Francesco Bagnaia came out on top to secure a long overdue MotoGP victory. As Marquez likened Bagnaia to a Ducati title contender of old, it appears the Italian rider could finally start to fight for wins on a more regular basis

MotoGP
Sep 13, 2021
Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble Prime

Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble

OPINION: The return of Andrea Dovizioso to the grid at Misano will be an interesting subplot to the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season. But the circumstances that have led to the former Ducati rider ending his sabbatical point to his signing being one more of convenience than a long-term commitment

MotoGP
Sep 8, 2021
Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP Prime

Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP

OPINION: The 2021 British Grand Prix was a historic day for MotoGP. At the centre of it was Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia after securing its first podium in the modern MotoGP era. It was something of a full-circle moment that highlighted just how far MotoGP has come in the last decade

MotoGP
Aug 30, 2021