LCR’s Cal Crutchlow labelled the first iteration of Honda’s 2018 RC213V ‘special’ after turning 30 laps on the new bike on the first day of the Valencia test.
HRC brought three of its new RC213Vs, one for both factory Repsol riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, and one for Crutchlow – who is now riding under a factory contract with Honda, albeit in LCR colours.
The 2018 bike is comprised of a brand–new chassis and engine, among numerous other big changes, with the Honda riders asking for the 2017 machine’s strong braking to be retained while making the motorcycle easier to handle.
Crutchlow was the first rider to venture out on the new Honda, and was pleased with how it performed on his way to 10th on the timesheets with a 1m31.259s – though admits his LCR team still has work to do having done very little to it set–up wise on Tuesday.
“We are very positive that HRC has given us a new bike this early,” enthused Crutchlow, who ended his third year with LCR and Honda ninth in the standings.
“Ever since I first jumped on it I’ve felt quite good.
“From what I’m aware the bike was on track three days ago, and then we have it now.
“So I think it’s the first (version). They will for sure make changes to it, but if you look at it, it’s special. No doubt about it.
“It’s something significantly different to what we had before. We have to be pleased with the way it’s come out of the crate, but we still have work to do.”
Newly–crowned world champion Marquez – whose brother Alex will test the Marc VDS Honda in Jerez next week – remained reserved with his opinion of the new bike, and is keeping his attention focused on further evaluating the 2018 RC213V on the final day of running on Wednesday.
“Today we tried our current bike, then our current bike with a slight modification, and then the prototype,” he said.
“I can’t say a lot because we still need to adjust many things: it’s a new chassis, new engine, new exhaust, many different things.
“And now it’s important to understand well and try to improve tomorrow.
“To understand which are the best points and what are the weak points, and find a good compromise.”