Honda’s MotoGP Progress Now Inclusive, Beyond Marquez’s Influence

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Honda MotoGP development not being focused on Marquez helping everyone

The RC213V Honda, which debuted in 2012, underwent gradual transformations to align with the demands of its longstanding rider, Marc Marquez.

Marquez, who joined forces with the Japanese manufacturer nearly 11 years ago, initially propelled the bike to significant success, clinching six titles in seven years. However, setbacks such as Marquez’s injury early in the 2020 season exposed substantial flaws in Honda’s MotoGP strategy.

Marquez’s exceptional talent allowed him to navigate around some of the RC213V’s inherent issues, masking the full extent of the bike’s weaknesses until it fell noticeably behind competitors over the past couple of years.

Now, with the 31-year-old departing to pursue the next phase of his career with Gresini Ducati, Honda is reevaluating its MotoGP program, aiming to align more closely with European manufacturers.

Honda's MotoGP Progress Now Inclusive, Beyond Marquez's Influence
Honda’s MotoGP Progress Now Inclusive, Beyond Marquez’s Influence (Credits: Motorsport)

A pivotal figure in Honda’s resurgence is MotoGP veteran Johann Zarco, who joined the LCR satellite team this year, replacing Alex Rins. While Zarco consistently outperforms factory Honda riders, Joan Mir and Luca Marini, he emphasizes the collective effort needed to enhance the RC213V’s performance.

Zarco believes Honda shouldn’t overly prioritize him but rather focus on collaborative development among all riders. He points out the shift from relying solely on a single dominant figure like Marquez, acknowledging the benefits of a more unified approach to bike development.

Zarco’s recent performance in the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix, where he finished just behind Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo, provided valuable insights into the RC213V’s capabilities compared to competitors like Maverick Vinales’ Aprilia.

Zarco stresses the importance of utilizing races for development, particularly with the new concessions system introduced in 2024.

His teammate, Takaaki Nakagami, notes a significant shift in Honda’s responsiveness in recent months, a result of the overhaul aimed at reversing its MotoGP decline.

There’s increased communication between engineers and riders, fostering deeper collaboration between the satellite and factory teams. Nakagami appreciates this more cohesive approach, describing it as a step towards a unified Honda family working towards a competitive bike.

Both Zarco and Nakagami highlight the importance of continued improvement and information sharing within the Honda camp, signaling a renewed determination to regain MotoGP prominence through collective effort and collaboration.

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