Although Marc Marquez scored the first Honda win since 2019 with a sensational comeback win in Germany, Honda struggled to get close to the podium this season with its troubled RC213V 2021.
Honda currently ranks fifth in the constructors’ championship, just 24 ahead of Aprilia and 98 behind Yamaha after the first nine races of the 2021 season.
A lack of rear axle grip was the main problem facing Honda drivers in 2021, affecting acceleration and braking when cornering, while the Honda remains difficult on qualifying trim.
A new chassis introduced for the Dutch TT has received praise from Marquez and Espargaro, with the former calling it the first update he had this year that feels like a real step forward.
Espargaro – who says his 2021 was hampered by “a lack of knowledge” due to a lack of testing – doesn’t know what updates Honda will bring after the five-week summer break, but admits that HRC really needs to deliver a lot to fix the bike.
“Confidentiality and the Japanese go hand in hand,” Espargaro told Motorsport.com on Tuesday during a track day in Barcelona.
“But of course there is a five-week break, there has never been such a long break and that means that there is a lot of work in Japan and we will have parts.
“Which parts? How will we have it? If? We do not know that.”
He added, “We are expecting a lot of new things, not just a chassis. I think the bike needs some tweaking in order for it to work and adapt to the rear tires.
“It may not be that easy to put together a working chassis.”
Team-mate Marquez was satisfied with the work HRC is currently doing after the chassis update in Assen and believes that this step forward will give the Honda engineers “motivation”.
After being severely restricted on medical orders due to his recovering right arm, Marquez said he hoped to improve his motorcycle training during the summer break.