Honda has had some problems in MotoGP, with riders unable to extract the desired performance from the RC213V. Marc Márquez has always been one step ahead of his colleagues since his arrival in 2013 - something that has been particularly evident with the manufacturer's drop in performance following the Spaniard's lengthy injury absence. In Casey Stoner's view - although he won't venture to comment on the current situation - there may have been a mistake made in the bike's development.
In a press conference, the Australian claimed that Honda didn't have the right approach when developing the RC213V to be very strong under braking - which ultimately neglected other areas: 'Everybody knows that Marc is incredibly talented. He has reaction times that I think are unmatched. That's why he can always recover so quickly when he loses the front. But I think one mistake Marc and his team made in the first few years was… he was always very strong in braking, so they made the bike into a bike that's only good in braking. So it's all that compromise thing: if you have huge strengths in your bike, then make it extremely weak in other areas. You can't have everything, that's simply what it is: you can't have everything at once. That's why we have so many different builders winning - because nobody has the perfect set.'
Stoner continued: 'I think when I tested with the Honda I was very focused on braking and stability under braking, but then I didn't like going into the corners. Marc was very good at covering some of the problems. He's very good, used his light brakes and fought with the others to make the bike work. But maybe they had some problems in 2015 when he didn't win the title and they had to go back to a chassis that was almost two years old to get some feeling back, to get confidence and be able to turn the bike better in the middle of the corner.'
Next, the former rider explained that he speaks mainly from his own experience, recalling the Ducati days when he was the only one able to be competitive on the Italian bike: 'I can't say what has happened lately, but I also know that when I was on the Ducati at the beginning, I was basically the only one at the front and the others were fighting more at the back. And I never thought the bike was that bad. I was still capable of winning and going to the podium with it. Every rider is different, what he wants from the bike is different.
Finally, Stoner said: 'Whether it's Honda's problem or not, it's very hard to say. I can't sit on the couch and evaluate what is happening exactly. I can only speak from my past experiences and the problems I've had with some of the chassis I've tested with Honda. We know how talented Marc is, but Pol is starting to get there with Honda. It's taken some time, but he's starting to get closer to the front. Maybe he has found what he needs from the bike.'