Which is why almost all journalists and pundits were wrong
Not long ago, everyone heard and read about Honda’s problems in terms of the miserable results of their riders and the outrageously bad results of the world’s largest manufacturer. Not for the first time almost all writers, commentators and so-called connoisseurs of the scene were absolutely in agreement. Even HRC veteran Alberto Puig, as team principal, did not contradict their claims in interviews and concurred with them when he confirmed that Honda is currently lagging behind the competition. For us, however, there is only one reason for this: the clever Spanish warhorse wanted to distract attention from the fact that he is jointly responsible for several mistakes when choosing drivers for the Repsol Honda works team and the customer team LCR. But this is not the first time his best man has given him and all the other twisters a lie since the Japanese Grand Prix in Motegi.
The true root causes of Honda’s disastrous situation
If you look at the manufacturers’ standings in MotoGP before the Australian GP, you could almost believe Puig and the journalists, including the so-called experts and commentators. But a look at the drivers’ standings and the last two results clearly shows how wrong they all are. Repsol Honda star Marc Marquez has seen the checkered flag in just 8 of the 17 races so far this season. No wonder with a total of 7 cancellations this season, but he is still the best-ranked Honda driver. Before the last three races of the year, the fast Catalan is even ahead of Joan Mir as the 2019 World Champion on Suzuki, but he too is only a shadow of himself with numerous failures and, along with Yamaha star Franco Morbidelli, one of the biggest losers of the year. The three remaining Honda drivers Alex Marquez, Pol Espargaro and Takaaki Nakagami follow closely behind me in the table. These three riders are, in fact, the real cause of Honda’s 2022 season debacle.
What Honda is missing – a fitter Marc Marquez and faster brand colleagues
Let’s leave the question open as to whether only Marc Marquez can really be at the front with the Honda. His teammate Pol Espargaro proved the opposite, at least at the season opener in Losail (Qatar), when he finished 3rd on the podium to the delight of Honda and their fans. However, not only his remaining results are questionable, but also those of his brand colleagues Nakagami and Alex Marquez. While the latter will switch to Gresini Ducati next season, the Japanese will surprisingly get another chance at LCR Honda. As a replacement for Marc Marquez’s younger brother, Alex Rins is an undisputedly faster man as the Japanese’s new team-mate. Instead of Pol, Joan Mir will be the second Suzuki man to join Honda, completing the Repsol Honda box for 2023. So everyone is wondering, is this enough to put Honda back in the fast lane?
Good advice for the coming year
Just like two years ago, when Marc Marquez was out for the entire season in the first year of Corona, we had heard and read far too often the fairy tale of the supposedly slow Honda this year. As is so often the case in 2023, it should therefore be advisable to be cautious about the assessments of most journalists, so-called experts and commentators. A good example of this was the start of the 2021 season. Before the double race in Qatar, the circuit of Losail was considered by many to be a Ducati track and the most named favorites were Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia. However, their Ducati brand colleague Johann Zarco left as world championship leader and both victories went to Yamaha. In this respect, skepticism is appropriate when it comes to expertise and comments, and hope for more balance when it comes to the performance of the various manufacturers. At least we agree with the opinion of Marc Marquez, who advocates the abolition of the so-called “ride height devices” and even more complicated and unnecessary electronics.
A cautious prognosis
Based on the experience of the last two years, the safest prognosis is that most busybodies will make a fool of themselves again. Incidentally, they also obviously have a miserable long-term memory. See the repeated and fictitious “Honda misery”, which Marc Marquez has repeatedly reduced to absurdity. We experienced it last year and again since the Grand Prix of Japan in Motegi and Thailand in Buriram. The man is definitely not even at 100 percent of his capacity and after a long break he is immediately back in the top five! In this respect, only another injury or falls can prevent him from fighting for the title next year together with Fabio Quartararo and the Ducati Spearheads. Aprilia should also have a serious say in 2023 and hopefully KTM will finally live up to the promises announced before entering MotoGP and also perform consistently at the front. Otherwise, the coming season will not only be a huge disappointment for Jack Miller.
Unless otherwise stated, this applies to all images (© MotoGP).