New fairing means Honda can be "strong everywhere"
MotoGP points leader Marc Marquez says the new aerodynamic fairing Honda introduced at the French Grand Prix will allow the manufacturer to be competitive at every race track over the season.
The factory Honda team tested new fairings in tests at both Jerez and Mugello the week after the Spanish Grand Prix, trialling three different specifications.
Subsequently, both Marquez and Dani Pedrosa used two slightly different winged fairing specifications on Friday at Le Mans ahead of the French GP.
Despite Honda being unable to match Yamaha at Le Mans in the past few years, Marquez ended Friday second fastest, only behind Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso.
Marquez claimed the new fairing helped him as it reduced wheelieing, something Honda has traditionally struggled with, and which is a common issue at Le Mans with its many low-speed corners.
The reigning champion reckons that with the new fairing helping with wheelie and consequently providing better acceleration, Honda "can be competitive all season".
"[The new fairing] is different, but improves in some areas, especially create a little bit less wheelie," said Marquez.
"About corner speed also we change the fairing and looks like we improve a little bit in the Mugello straight. Here [at Le Mans] I cannot feel a difference.
"We use the joker [fairing] because we believe that in this race track it can help.
"I deal with these two different fairings. [With] the one that I had until now and the one that we introduce here, we can be competitive all season."
Pedrosa, who is struggling with a swollen hip as a result of his crash at Jerez, and is still hindered by his injured wrist from Argentina, ended the day eighth.
He echoed Marquez's sentiments, saying the fairing spec he ran is "more matching to this kind of track".
"Today we tried the wings on the last exit and there was much less wheelie, so on a track like here, there is an advantage," he said. "Looks like it’s more matching to this kind of track.
"You can be more relaxed on the straight, not fighting so much with the wheelie on the exit of the corner. But it’s the first time, so I need to do more work on it."
Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont
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