Honda failed to win a race in 2020 for the first time since returning to the top class full-time in 1982, and although Marc Marquez won three Grand Prix this year despite still recovering from a serious arm injury, The RC213V proved to be a problematic bike.
All of its riders struggled with a lack of grip on the back, which had a contagious effect of hampering them into the corners as well as leaving them.
Honda unveiled a radically different RC213V prototype for 2022 at the Misano test in September and continued to develop it last week at the post-season Jerez test.
LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami finished second at the end of the two-day Jerez test, while factory team Honda rider Pol Espargaro was seventh – while Marc Marquez was absent after missing the last two rounds of 2021 with vision problems.
“This is not easy to answer, because sometimes we do not know,” Puig told motogp.com when asked at what stage of development Honda was with the 2022 RC213V.
“Once you have done a test, the engineers have to gather all the information and of course decide the direction or what to do.
“So, in what part of the development [we are]: we test and develop at the same time.
“I mean, there is no limit to development, you can always develop.
“We’re trying to understand what’s best for our riders, based on different chassis configurations and engines, and that’s what all manufacturers do.
“I would say that we are still far from ready, but a very important and crucial test here.
“In our complicated situation with our riders, where Marc is not here, we get good information.”
When he spoke exclusively to Motorsport.com’s Spanish-language edition of Motorsport.com, Puig was optimistic about Honda’s work to date with its 2022 challenger.
“The conclusions are positive because we have found a direction where we can continue the work,” he added.
“When the bike is tested by different riders, and each one tells you a different thing, it’s very complicated, but fortunately the opinion of our riders is very similar, and that’s very important, because you realize that the work we started in Misano “And what we said then that we would try to do for this test in Jerez has worked. And that is positive.”
Espargaro says the rear grip missing on the 2021 bike has been delivered with the new prototype, but notes that the front end “suffers more” now.
“This is without a doubt the grip I asked for, they have worked a lot on this aspect and we have taken a big step forward,” the Spaniard said.
“When you generate a lot of grip at the rear, other problems arise, especially at the front, which suffer more. Maybe we need a softer tire.
“But we got what we asked for and now we have to do our job and return the effort.”