Marc Marquez put Honda's lack of competitiveness in Sunday’s MotoGP race at Le Mans down to higher track temperatures than those prevailing in qualifying.
After surging to a dominant pole position on Saturday, the reigning champion struggled to keep pace with the leaders during the race, dropping back to a distant fourth behind the factory Yamahas of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi and the Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso.
Marquez explained afterwards that higher track temperatures were the cause of Honda’s malaise, with front tyre grip in particular proving an issue, as evidenced by low-side crashes for the three remaining factory RC213Vs of Cal Crutchlow, Scott Redding and Dani Pedrosa.
“This morning [in warm-up] the feeling was good, and also yesterday afternoon, but the track temperature was much higher in the race,” said the 22-year-old.
“We thought it would be better for us, but it was the complete opposite – we had a lot of problems with the front tyre, especially in the first part of the race.
“At the end it was better, but in the first part it was impossible to ride the bike.
“When I saw this, I thought I will just take the points and try to finish the race,” he concluded.
Marquez remains fourth in the standings, having taken just a single victory at Austin in the first five rounds, but is now 33 points away from championship leader Rossi.