Jorge Lorenzo took a dominant victory at the season opening Qatar
Grand Prix but since then Honda has gained momentum and is now the pacesetter in the premier class with both Dani Pedrosa and Marc
Marquez winning. The bike has clearly made a step forward but its
speed in the wet perfectly illustrated the strengths of the Honda.
After Sunday’s French Grand Prix rival riders talked about just how
comfortable the Honda looked when being ridden at the limit. The race started in wet conditions before the start started to dry in the
second half of the race. The trecherous conditions made it very easy
for any rider to make a mistake with Andrea Dovizioso profiting from
Pedrosa’s early race mistakes.
“Dani was faster than me,” commented the Ducati rider. “He had less traction when he passed me and he was able to brake much harder and turn faster than me in every corner but he made a few mistakes and I was able to pass him. In braking it was easy to lose the rear and he made three mistakes and I was able to stop him.”
Dovizioso was not the only rider to talk about the advantage enjoyed by the Honda riders with Valentino Rossi saying:
“Today in the wet the Honda was very strong and Dani was a lot faster than us,” said the Italian. “It looks like they can control the slide in the wet better than us. Dani made two or three mistakes but he was still able to win.”
The ability to slide the bike with ease was key at Le Mans with
Pedrosa able to use this strength to exit turn five with extra speed
and be in position to overtake at Garage Vert, the double right hander
where Pedrosa finally took the lead for good.
Jorge Lorenzo struggled throughout the race with the Spaniard
suffering from a severe lack of rear grip that made it impossible for
him to stay with the lead group during the race. With Honda having won the last three races the reigning world champion is now 17 points
adrift of Pedrosa in the championship.
When asked about the strength of the Honda the Spaniard said:
“The Honda is in extremely good form and the riders, Dani is really
focussed and doing a great job and Marquez being a rookie is doing an extremely good job without mistakes,” said Lorenzo. “But the bike is working better than our bike at this moment.”