Honda Faces MotoGP Crisis Following its Mugello Debacle

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Marc Marquez met with Honda Motor Company’s second-highest ranking executive, Shinji Aoyama, last Sunday at Mugello to discuss the ongoing crisis at Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) in MotoGP and to express his frustration over the company’s lack of response.

The discussion, which took place in Honda’s motorhome, started at 11am and ran for 25 minutes. Along with Marquez and Aoyama, who flew in by helicopter that morning, Koji Watanabe, the president of Honda Racing Corporation, also attended the meeting. The racing division now comprises both the motorcycle and car divisions since last year.

KEY POINTS: Learnings from the 2023 MotoGP Italian GP

Accompanying Marquez was his manager, Jimmy Martinez. HRC director, Tetsuhiro Kuwata, was present for the initial five minutes, but neither Shinichi Kokubu, the senior technical manager, nor team manager Alberto Puig, attended. Post-meeting, Marquez headed to the Honda garage to prepare for the race. He, however, only managed to complete six laps before crashing on the seventh while vying for a podium spot with Luca Marini, which continued his 2023 non-finish streak.

What was expected to be a challenging race for both Marquez and Honda turned out to be another disaster for the Japanese firm and its star racer.

Joan Mir, after tying his MotoGP personal record of 12 crashes, withdrew from Mugello on Friday due to a fractured pinky on his right hand. Honda reported on Tuesday that Mir hasn’t yet recovered from his injury and won’t be racing at the upcoming German GP at Sachsenring.

Saturday brought more bad news when Alex Rins severely injured his right leg during the sprint race. Awaiting a second surgery on Tuesday, Rins won’t be able to ride again until after the summer break. With both Spanish riders sidelined at Mugello, Takaaki Nakagami from LCR was the only Honda rider to reach the finish line, coming in 13th.

Known for his ability to mask his mood, especially during tough times, Marquez secluded himself in the HRC truck post-crash before heading back to the garage.

Marquez hasn’t managed to finish any of the three grand prix he started this year

Photo by: Gold and Goose / F1 Flow Images

“Sometimes, you need to take a moment to regain composure. I took a breather before returning to the garage and speaking with you,” Marquez confessed to reporters. This time, however, his frustration with the perceived lack of action from Honda was evident.

Despite a month’s gap between the Le Mans and Mugello races, Marquez’s requests for improvements from Honda were unfulfilled. Furthermore, he faced a bike issue during the sprint start, which the engineers failed to fix by race day, causing him to lose several positions.

“It’s obvious that without new developments, we can’t test them on the track. It’s hard to grasp what’s happening in Japan, but since the season started, we’ve received only one new chassis,” Marquez lamented when asked by F1 if he believed the Tokyo-based manufacturer was doing its best to turn the situation around.

“The alarming fact is that all of us Honda riders are crashing, which we need to change for the future. More crashes increase the risk of injuries,” Marc Marquez

Marquez’s disappointment with Honda is even more profound than it appears from the outside. The grueling two-year saga after his arm break at Jerez in July 2020 is behind him now, and so is his sense of indebtedness to Honda for respecting his decisions during his injury and its complications.

After his fourth surgery a little over a year ago and the subsequent recovery period, he no longer has any physical limitations. His readiness to win again is evident every time he is on the bike. But his entourage asserts that the bike isn’t keeping pace.

Marquez’s meeting with Honda’s senior management was productive… for the time being

Photo by: Gold and Goose / F1 Flow Images

The fear of another injury haunts Marquez’s inner circle, due to the current state of the RC213V and his racing style.

“The worrying fact is that all of us Honda riders are crashing, which we need to change for the future. More crashes increase the risk of injuries,” he commented just before F1 asked him about his impressions after his meeting with Aoyama.

“Meetings usually go well. We’ll see what happens next,” Marquez responded as HRC staff disassembled the setup to depart for Germany.

Tensions at HRC are so high that even the arrival at Sachsenring, a track where Marquez has consistently won, is seen more as a potential hazard than an opportunity.

Marquez’s return to Sachsenring hasn’t generated much optimism for continuing his undefeated streak there

Photo by: Dorna

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about MotoGP Honda Crisis

Who met at Mugello to discuss the crisis at Honda Racing Corporation in MotoGP?

Marc Marquez, the star racer, met with Honda Motor Company’s second-highest ranking executive, Shinji Aoyama. They were joined by Koji Watanabe, the president of Honda Racing Corporation, and Marquez’s manager, Jimmy Martinez.

Who is Honda’s second-highest ranking executive?

Honda’s second-highest ranking executive is Shinji Aoyama.

What is the main issue Marc Marquez expressed?

Marc Marquez voiced his frustration over Honda’s lack of response to the ongoing crisis and the escalating crash rate in MotoGP. He also mentioned the lack of bike improvements despite his requests.

Which Honda rider withdrew from the Mugello Grand Prix due to injury?

Joan Mir withdrew from the Mugello Grand Prix due to a fractured pinky on his right hand. Alex Rins also suffered a severe injury to his right leg during the sprint race.

What are Marc Marquez’s fears for the future in relation to the current situation?

Marquez is worried about the high rate of crashes among Honda riders. He believes that the more crashes occur, the greater the risk of severe injuries, which he sees as a pressing issue that needs addressing for the future of Honda Racing Corporation.

More about MotoGP Honda Crisis

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Daredevil67 June 14, 2023 - 9:15 pm

marc, stay strong man! rooting for ya, but honestly, don’t know how u still stick with Honda after all this mess

RacingPundit June 15, 2023 - 1:42 am

don’t understand how a company like Honda is facing this crisis?? Not a good look for them, not at all…

MikeRiderFan June 15, 2023 - 9:00 am

can’t believe what’s happening to Honda, Marc deserves better, what a letdown…

GP_lover June 15, 2023 - 11:51 am

this is turning into a nightmare for honda, when will they start making improvements!? Marquez is totally justified in his frustration.

Speedster101 June 15, 2023 - 6:06 pm

Marc’s right! the bike isn’t keeping pace and it’s just unacceptable!! Honda needs to pull up their socks

MotorHead22 June 15, 2023 - 7:07 pm

its like watching a slow motion crash! Sort it out Honda, you’re better than this! you have one of the best racers on your team! make it work


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