Marc Marquez stunned to be leading the 2016 MotoGP championship

Marc Marquez says entertaining the notion that he would be leading the MotoGP championship after two rounds would have been "crazy" as Honda toiled during pre-season testing

Marc Marquez stunned to be leading the 2016 MotoGP championship

Of the leading factory outfits, Honda was the hardest hit by the 2016 move to a control ECU, struggling in particular with power delivery.

It started well and truly on the back foot, but made progress through changes including adopting a counter-rotating crankshaft, as used by Yamaha and Ducati.

Marquez was third in the season opener in Qatar, then won in Argentina last weekend, taking the points lead as Jorge Lorenzo crashed out.

"If you said to me, 'you would lead the championship' in February, when we were in Malaysia [for pre-season testing], I would say to you, 'you are crazy'," he said.

"But we worked really hard during this pre-season, in the Qatar race and [in Argentina] we continued to work hard."

Honda dominated in low-grip conditions in Friday practice, and Marquez admitted that the circuit also suited his riding style.

He says Honda is still "struggling on the acceleration side", something that will hurt more at other tracks.

"We know that [Termas de Rio Hondo] can be good for us," he said.

"We were strong because I like it and for some reason for my riding style it's good.

"But also one of the reasons is that we have only one acceleration [point]. In that acceleration we were losing two tenths, three tenths.

"Then we have strong points on the bike, entry of the corner and turning.

"Now we must find the compromise and gain on the acceleration."

VICTORY EASES MENTAL SCARS

Last Sunday was just the second time a dry MotoGP race had a mandatory bike change at the midway point.

The only other time the regulation was used, in Phillip Island's Australian Grand Prix in 2013 due to concerns over Bridgestone tyres, Honda misread the rules and pitted Marquez one lap too late.

Fighting Lorenzo for the title at the time in his rookie season, Marquez was disqualified.

Two-and-a-half years on, he was pleased to have closure for his team.

"When race direction informed us that the race would be like Australia [2013], everybody was laughing for the mistake that we did," he said.

"But it's a special race, this victory, because it's the first of the year, but also because after Australia I think it was important for my team."

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