Cal Crutchlow warns Honda is ‘not easy to ride again’

Cal Crutchlow says the 2020 Honda RC213V is still suffering from the same issues as 2019, describing the front-end feel as 'worse than last year'.

Cal Crutchlow - LCR Honda

Cal Crutchlow says the 2020 Honda RC213V is still difficult to ride, complaining the powerful engine is still pushing the front-end on entry to corners.

Despite the success of Marc Marquez on the factory Repsol Honda in 2019, Crutchlow was often critical of the direction by the manufacturer to build a bike best suited to the Spaniard at the behest of its other riders.

Stemming from a more powerful engine that made deceleration and corner entry particularly problematic, Crutchlow suffered several of front-end crashes during the 2019 season.

Following the first round of pre-season testing at Sepang, Crutchlow says the same fundamental issues remain, revealing that while the RC213V is better out of corners and on the straight, it’s more difficult to get stopped and turned.

“With the bike underneath me at the moment it seems difficult, the bike's not easy to ride again and we need to improve,” the LCR rider told “We need to work the bike out to be able to work with these tyres.

"We have two different situations going on, I think one is the chassis and one is the engine. And we need to work them both out. The problem is the engine is done basically, so now we need to work our way around that. We'll see."

"I'm happy with the engine on acceleration and in the straight, but not on deceleration.”

“It's worse than last year in that area [corner entry]. It's better on the exit of the corner, better in a straight line, but on the entry to the corner I think it's worse than last year's bike and we need to work our way around that.”

Cal Crutchlow and Marc Marquez agree on Honda issues

Compared with Yamaha and Suzuki, the first pre-season test appears to have left Honda with some work to do before the paddock reconvenes for final test and opening round in Qatar next month.

While Marquez wasn’t competing at full strength, the Spaniard admitted he is more ‘worried’ about the Honda’s performance than he is about his own physical condition.

Ultimately agreeing with Crutchlow’s assessment of the bike, he said: “I am more worried about the technical side. The things we tried, it’s not clear. Some were a little bit better but we need to keep pushing.”

Crutchlow’s words carry more weight since he was charged with the lion’s share of the development work on the RC213V at Sepang due to Marquez’s shoulder injury recovery and rookie Alex Marquez’s being focused on getting up to speed on the bike. Crutchlow’s team-mate Takaaki Nakagami will ride the 2019-spec Honda in 2020, though he too is also recovering from injury.

Despite concerns about the chassis though, Crutchlow was at least pleased to end the test with the second fastest time despite staying away from all forms of motorcycling during the winter.

“The positive is that I'm still fast. It should really crack all these riders that I haven't sat on a motorcycle since Jerez and I can turn up here and be fast!”