MotoGP 2023
Round 4

Tough Day In Burning Jerez Sun For Honda Riders

es Circuito de Jerez - Angel Nieto

Honda’s MotoGP riders had a challenging time in today’s sun-baked Spanish Grand Prix sprint, a thrilling, quickfire 11-lap race around the legendary circuit in southern Spain.

Tough Day In Burning Jerez Sun For Honda Riders

Following practice and qualifying at the fourth round of this year’s 20 round MotoGP World Championship, Japanese ace Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) looked like Honda’s best chance of a top result today.

The race was stopped and restarted after a first-lap pile-up, which left no one injured. Nakajima hadn’t got the best of getaways during the first start, due to wheelspin, so the 31-year-old from Chiba had high hopes of a better getaway in the restart. He was going well and giving it everything he had until he slid off at Turn Nine of the fourth of 11 laps. Happily he walked away from the fall.

That left Alex Rins (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) as Honda’s big hope of a top-three result, two weeks after his brilliant weekend at the Grand Prix of the Americas, outside the city of Austin, USA. Rins finished a brilliant second in the Americas sprint and backed that up with a sensational victory in the Americas Grand Prix race,

However, Rins discovered that his RC213V isn’t as well suited to Jerez as it is to the Circuit of the Americas, because here he is losing a little time through the Spanish racetrack’s series of long, long sweeping corners. Therefore the best he could do today was finish 13th just behind 2021 MotoGP World Champion Fabio Quartararo. The 27-year-old Spaniard and his crew will learn from today’s experience and aim to improve his machine for tomorrow’s Grand Prix race, with starts at 15:00 local time.

Honda MotoGP test rider Stefan Bradl (Team HRC Honda RC213V), who is testing new aerodynamic solutions and other upgrades here, took the chequered flag in 15th position.

Honda World Superbike rider Iker Lecuona (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) is replacing Marc Marquez this weekend, so this event is proving a real baptism of fire for the youngster. The 23-year-old Spaniard finished three places behind Bradl in his first race aboard an RC213V. Tomorrow he will use what he learned today and try to chase World Championship points.

Former Moto3 and MotoGP World Champion Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) didn’t finish the race, after the

25-year-old Spaniard slid off at slow speed, straggling with a high front-tyre temperature. He wasn’t hurt.

The MotoGP paddock gets one weekend off before reconvening at Le Mans, France, which is followed on consecutive weekends by the German and Netherlands rounds of the championship.

Alex Rins
Alex Rins 42
Talking after the sprint race this weekend we are having a few issues. We are working to make the bike turn better when you let off the brakes and we are also trying to make the bike keep its line on the longer corners, so we are trying to make forward steps, like at the first races. The win in the USA was great but this track is different, so let’s try to keep making laps, give good information and look forward to the important test on Monday, when we will try some new things.

Stefan Bradl 6
HRC Team
It was another satisfying day today. The conditions during the race were quite tough with the heat and we were able to put together a good race. I was quite conservative as the primary objective was to finish the race and collect the data, this was very important. We have work to do as Honda to keep closing the distance to the front, so every lap counts. Tomorrow the objective is the same – to be consistent and see what is possible in the race.

Iker Lecuona
Iker Lecuona 27
Repsol Honda Team
My first MotoGP Sprint race was overall very good, the red flag and doing two starts made things a little strange but I was able to learn a lot in the race. It was really physical, especially in this heat, but I managed it and racing with the other riders again taught me a lot. For tomorrow I think we can put what we learned into practice and close the distance to the other riders a bit more. I am satisfied with how the weekend is going, I am learning a lot and I am really enjoying riding the Honda and being back in MotoGP.

Joan Mir
Joan Mir 36
Repsol Honda Team
Today’s crash was similar to yesterday; I was braking and lost the front in the last part of the corner. We are struggling this weekend, trying to find some advantage in braking. It’s really easy to make a mistake, especially with the high track temperatures, and it was my mistake today. I am uninjured and we get to try again tomorrow, this is the important point. We have to keep our focus and look to the test on Monday where we will have a lot of time to understand our situation deeply.

Takaaki Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami 30
In the re-start the feeling with these hot conditions was quite OK. I managed to overtake Luca Marini and tried to go away and keep my pace, but I couldn’t. I lost the front. It was like slow-motion and I couldn’t do anything, so I ended up in the gravel. Today was a big opportunity to finish in the top five or six. The bike is good in hot conditions but if tomorrow is the same we will use the hard front because the medium gets too hot.

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