Positive steps forward for Repsol Honda Team duo on opening day of track action at the French GP, Marc Marquez returning inside the top ten with Joan Mir making strides forward in the morning.
With the positive news of Marc Marquez’s return confirmed, the Repsol Honda Team started a busy day in France. Both Marquez and Mir spent much of the first day of the French GP testing a new chassis for the Honda RC213V, assessing its performance during the intense schedule of a Grand Prix weekend. Their task was aided by a completely dry day at the 4.19 kilometre-long Le Mans circuit.
All eyes were on the #93 as Marquez returned to competition after suffering an injury at Round One in Portugal. He was immediately able to get back up to speed and began challenging for the top ten. His return did present a few challenges as 15 minutes into the first session, Marquez suffered a fall at Turn 11 but walked away unharmed before quickly returning to the track. A second fall, this time at Turn 9 during Practice 2, would end Marquez’s second session of the day but a time of 1’31.432 would see the eight-time World Champion hold onto a spot in the combined top ten. A positive first day back for Marquez.
Cooler morning conditions saw a motivated Mir immediately lapping inside the top positions of the morning session. Eventually ending in sixth place and only 0.351s from the top of the time sheets, Mir immediately feeling improvements on the Honda RC213V. His 1’31.800 from the morning session would stand as the double-World Champion’s best lap time of the day and had him end the day in 13th overall. Just 0.3s split the #36 from the top ten, Mir certain to be in contention for a transfer spot come Q1.
Forecasts suggest a dry Saturday in Le Mans with temperatures steadily working towards 20°C as the day progresses. This stability will be crucial as the Repsol Honda Team continue to work on improving the RC213V.
“Today I am very happy overall; it was a good day. I crashed two times; the second time was an ‘acceptable’ crash because I was pushing at the limit on a hot lap – it can happen. After a month and a half at home, it’s not easy to go out and straight away start pushing so we have to be content with what we have done today as we made it to Q2. The objective for tomorrow is to maintain this position in the front three rows of the grid. Of course, the weather could change things here a lot, but we will keep working and adapting to whatever happens. I still need to work a bit to keep improving my feeling and also to improve the performance overall.”
“We tried a new chassis today in the morning and I was able to improve my feeling, riding more comfortably but we still need to adapt the setting and myself to take the maximum from it. Everything in the morning was very easy, then in the afternoon it was a little more complicated and we need to analyse tonight what changed from practice to practice. We will keep working tomorrow in a similar way, looking for those last few tenths to fight for Q2.”
- From Team Honda MotoGP / HRC