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Honda Is Struggling with the Spec ECU Software

Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa spoke about the hard time he is currently having in getting the 2016 motorcycle work for him as he'd like. It looks like Honda is nowhere near getting the best out of the spec software that became compulsory from the start of the championship.
Lorenzo stealing the win from Marquez at Mugello in 2016, by 0.019s 1 photo
In a way, we anticipated this and feared that Honda will refuse to work properly with the spec software until the very last moment. Other teams, such as Ducati, Aprilia, and even Suzuki are miles ahead of House Tokyo when it comes to implementing the spec software, and the troubles the Japanese manufacturer is struggling with are not hard to see.

Pedrosa, who recently signed a two-season
contract extension with Repsol Honda, isn't exactly complaining, but he is far from being happy with the current package. Even his teammate, Marc Marquez is struggling in qualifying sessions, as another Honda rider observed.

Cal Crutchlow, LCR: "I remember Marc was qualifying a second in front of the next riders at some circuits. He was a mile ahead. And now he's pushing beyond the limit to be within two three tenths. We have to try and brake a bit later, we have to try and push in the corner and [crashing] is what happens," the Isle of Man native adds.

Crutchlow also had a terrible season so far, crashing in no less than four of the six races since the start of the championship. He adds that on a satellite Ducati or Yamaha, he'd smoke the corresponding riders easily, as he has done in the past, but such a thing is impossible with the actual machine.

Honda overhauled their engine for 2016, going for a different crankshaft but were unable to test the new software fully. Making things worse is the fact that the spec software has significantly fewer control points and is simpler, more standardized. This, in turn, means that Honda's engineers have fewer tools to compensate the engine imperfections, even in key points, such as traction control, as Pedrosa tells autosport.

The most recent race saw Marquez wheeling a bit hundreds of yards before the finish line while running in the leading position. To some, this may not seem too important, but that wheelie apparently cost him the race, as it allowed Jorge Lorenzo to accelerate better and literally steal an unexpected victory, 19 thousandths of a second ahead of Marquez, in an epic photo finish.

And with Honda's engines frozen until the end of the season, it looks like the only hope lies with the riders to try and adapt to how the bikes react, and with the engineers who need to learn as much as possible about the spec software as soon as possible. A thing Honda should have done ever since the future of the spec software became a certainty.


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