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Honda ‘doesn’t have to be pessimistic’ about MotoGP form

Honda’s performance decline continues in the new campaign, with the RC213V still lagging behind the competition despite the work put into upgrading the engine this winter.

The Japanese manufacturer returned empty-handed from last weekend’s US GP, with Luca Marini finishing 16th and last in the sole remaining Honda, while Zarco, LCR teammate Takaaki Nakagami and factory rider Joan Mir all retired with no -related problems.

The non-score came twelve months after Alex Rins led the LCR team to a stunning victory at the Circuit of the Americas, a venue where Marc Marquez was previously unbeatable on the factory bike.

But Zarco does not see Honda’s lack of results at the start of the year as a cause for concern, as he believes the brand has what it takes to turn its fortunes around.

“I’m still positive about it,” he said. “We don’t have to be pessimistic, because we knew it would be difficult with this really new project. Honda changes so many things.

“It’s easy to say we need time, but this is because during races where Honda performed well (like Austin), we performed the worst at that moment.

“When we compare it with other bikes, we clearly see that something is missing.

Johann Zarco, Team LCR Honda

Johann Zarco, Team LCR Honda

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“(We) don’t have to be pessimistic because I really think there are no secrets on the technical side, just things that we need to understand and that we have the people’s ability to understand it.

“But maybe we need to see it in a different way, a different prism, a different way of seeing things.

“As long as I can give the energy I gave on the bike and explain it, because that is my quality as a rider, we will move forward.”

Honda MotoGP boss Alberto Puig admitted he is “confused” as to why the “good improvements” made to the bike have not delivered the desired results on the track so far.

He had previously suggested that a big boost in Honda’s performance is possible by the summer holidays as the full impact of the operational overhaul becomes clear.

Zarco said a frustrating performance in Austin will only serve as a reminder of where it needs to improve as it continues to put new parts on the bike and take advantage of the new franchise system.

“Maybe we weren’t competitive. It’s just as good to take such a beating to really realize some things,” he told French broadcaster Canal+.

“It seems like we are really in a different system. There are no secrets, Honda will find (solutions), because they have changed things so revolutionary that they have to refocus a little, but I try to analyze it this way.

“Obviously we want to fight and we can’t, so I’m devastated. I pedaled after the few laps I did to sweat out the frustration and let it go.