Cal Crutchlow says Honda’s MotoGP bike is struggling “from start to finish” in a lap around the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit that hosts the Argentinian GP.
The Japanese marque’s lead rider Marc Marquez was second to Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales in the combined classification after Friday running in Argentina, while LCR rider Crutchlow was seventh.
However, the Briton admitted he was “on the limit” in chasing a laptime in FP2, as he wanted to secure a place in the top 10 in case it proved decisive for an automatic Q2 bye.
“I don’t know how I stayed on,” Crutchlow said. “It was the limit, sure, because we need to be in the top 10, because it will rain all day tomorrow, we think.”
Asked where in particular the bike was struggling around the Termas de Rio Honda track, Crutchlow said: “From start to finish, 14 corners, all of them.
“The pits is not so bad. The rest is hard work, we are just fighting with the bike, we are locking the front, the rear, battling with the grip.”
Crutchlow argued that the perception of Honda excelling in low-grip conditions was not the “reality” and added: “Generally, in the moment, there is nothing we can change so much – we have a lot of work to do with the setting of the bike because we didn’t really touch it so much today.
“I feel I’m riding really well, I found on the pace immediately this morning and I felt quite on the pace this afternoon, but we don’t have the grip of the other guys.”
Marquez trying “not to lose many points”
Reigning champion Marquez, who has won two of the three MotoGP races in Argentina since the event’s return in 2014, said his team did well to improve the set-up and electronics throughout Friday.
But, as he finished three tenths off championship leader Vinales, the Honda rider admitted there was need to “improve a lot”.
“What we did of the pre-season, and first race, and today, it looks like Maverick and Yamaha is the strongest package,” Marquez said.
“We must improve in some areas. If we improve them, we are able to fight a little bit easier, we will be able to stay there.
“But at the moment we are trying to push the maximum to not lose many points.”
Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont and Federico Faturos