When the Qatar test rolled around in March of 2020, it became clear that Honda’s latest aero package was a failure, with both Marc Marquez and Cal Crutchlow slating the machine.
It seemed they were in real trouble, while the engine was praised as an improvement by Crutchlow with an improvement in power and drive, the new upper wings seemed to upset the front end even more, pushing the front end very badly at full lean. This was already the weak point of the bike, with Crutchlow and Jorge Lorenzo in 2019 continually wanting more front end feel they could not achieve. This, combined with the grippier Michelin rear tyre for 2020, meant they left Qatar in disarray, with Marc testing a 2020 bike with absolutely no front wing whatsoever in order to pinpoint the issue, even testing the LCR machine of Takaaki Nakagami to compare the 2019 bike to the 2020 model. With only a few hours remaining of the test, they made the breakthrough using a hybrid bike with some 2019 design elements on a 2020 chassis. They then designated the 2020 aero package as a failure, and decided to drop the idea immediately after the Qatar test.
It looked as though they would really struggle come the Qatar race, but unfortunately the Coronavirus pandemic hit, and we had no MotoGP class race in Losail meaning Honda could do their homework and when the season returned they could come up with a package that would work.
They arrived at Jerez for the pre-race test running the 2019 aero package that they ended the previous season with at Valencia, with no tweaks whatsoever barring a swingarm scoop that is near identical to the Ducati part. There seems to be no change to the lower aero on the fairing, with it remaining square and upswept. They’ve kept their carbon fibre swingarm, which works well in conjunction with the scoop to maintain the stiffness of the part.
This reversion to the 2019 aero culminated in Marc Marquez being the fastest man in the first session at the Jerez test, proving the crisis that was threatening to derail their season had been avoided, until Marquez broke his humerus at the opening round.
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