Marc Marquez is putting pressure on Honda to find an urgent solution to traction control issues that caused his huge Friday practice highside at the Dutch MotoGP.
If Marquez felt like he was walking on air after ending his and Honda’s 19-month losing streak at the Sachsenring last Sunday, he found himself literally flying through the air – at 130km/h – during FP2 at Assen.
In what was his biggest accident since returning from last year’s broken arm, the eight-time world champion was flung into orbit when the rear of his RC213V slid sideways and then bit into the asphalt at Turn 11.
Massive highside for @marcmarquez93!
— MotoGP (@MotoGP) June 25, 2021
As Marquez bounced heavily to a halt in the gravel there was immediate concern over his healing right-arm, with marshals soon preparing a stretcher for the #93. But Marquez eventually got to his feet and took a scooter ride back to the garage.
“First of all lucky to escape from that crash in good way,” Marquez said. “Of course I can feel I had a big crash. I have some pain in my knee, some pain in the foot, some pain in the elbow. But everything is okay to continue in the same performance during the rest of the weekend.”
The Repsol Honda star had been trying a new chassis at the time of his accident but was certain that the true cause of his accident – while following reigning champion Joan Mir in the opening ten minutes of FP2 – had been the electronics.
“In FP2 I was riding well. I was pushing in some parts of the circuit but in that point and that type of corner I was not riding over the limits, because there was another rider in front of me and I was doing exactly the same as he did or even slower,” he said.
“But I am already pushing a lot to HRC. We cannot have these kinds of crashes. In those kind of corners, we are against the electronics. The electronics are there to avoid this type of crashes.”
Marquez not only saw a link between his Friday fall and previous accidents for other Honda riders this year, but felt it was similar to the Jerez 2020 highside that left him with the fractured arm.
“The thing is, only Honda riders have these kinds of highsides. In Portimao Alex and Pol. Here me. It was a similar crash in 2020 in Jerez. We must understand,” Marquez said.
“I checked the data to see if I did something wrong. I was riding in the same way as the previous lap. But just the TC didn’t keep the slide.
“We need to understand the way to work with the electronics to avoid this kind of crash. if you crash because you go in too fast to the corner, or because you push too much with the front brake, or because you lean too much, then of course it’s the rider’s fault.
“But when you are doing the exact same thing as the other lap, with even less angle and you have a highside, then it’s because something is wrong.”
For both safety and performance reasons, Marquez believes finding a solution must be HRC’s top priority.
“We need to improve. To be more safe. Not for the future, but for the next race,” he said. “If not, it’s impossible to take the confidence and be fast again. If we want to ride on the limit with the bike we can’t have these kind of crashes.
“These crashes take from you a lot of confidence because you don’t know when you will crash again in that style. They [Honda] check already some things, some parameters that were not completely normal in that kind of corner. They will try to adjust. We need to keep working. Continue on the same level because I was riding in a good way in FP2.”
Told of Marquez’s comments, team-mate Pol Espargaro added: “Well, it’s true that statistically we as the Honda guys are crashing more than the others. This is clear. Our complaints are about the rear grip on the edge, which is about the first initial throttle.
“I had a crash similar to [Marquez] in Portimao. We are asking for grip. When the grip is not there, it’s not just about being fast; it’s also about safety. For example, Ducati doesn’t have many crashes like this one. Which means they have good grip on the rear, so we are trying.”
Despite the spectacular early fall, Marquez had already gone faster than his morning time and finished the day sixth overall, 0.488s behind Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales.
The 28-year-old now plans to continue with the chassis comparison after a promising first impression of the new design.
“About the chassis, I’m really happy with the job HRC did. Maybe it’s the first thing where I feel some clear direction for future,” he said. “I feel it was working well.
“I was happy immediately when I tried it, I saw some different riding style and different way to understand the things. Overall, I like it. But anyway I need to compare more deeply during the weekend and at another track.
“Luckily after the crash the chassis was okay. So we plan to continue with that chassis.
“The ideal situation is that by Saturday of a race weekend both bikes are in the same conditions. But we know we need to test things and improve. So we need to compare again.
“So we’ll have one bike with each chassis tomorrow to continue our work and forget about performance, forget about finding the best result, and concentrate more on improving the bike for the future.”
Espargaro, who didn’t get chance to try the new chassis before rain arrived, was second fastest on his ‘standard’ 2021 bike. Espargaro also plans to try Marquez’s ‘standard’ bike, which features older chassis parts.