Honda admits bad 2023 MotoGP season could see Marquez walk
Friday 24th March, 2023 - 7:47pm
Honda admits that it needs to give Marc Marquez a competitive MotoGP bike this season or he may well quit the team.
The Spaniard has endured three nightmare years since winning his sixth premier class title in 2019, starting with the ugly crash at the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix which left him with a badly broken right arm.
While he is only now getting over that injury after four operations, and has also twice been forced out of rounds due to double vision, the bigger concern remains just how uncompetitive the RC213V has become.
Marquez himself said during pre-season testing that Honda “cannot be very optimistic” given how little progress it had made.
Repsol Honda Team Principal Alberto Puig, in an interview with Spain’s El Periodico, tried to play down speculation that their talisman could leave in frustration when his contract ends next year, but admitted it is possible.
“It’s just rumours, Marc has been a Honda rider all his life and he is very grateful to Honda,” said Puig.
“But we are perfectly aware that if we don’t give him a winning bike, we could lose him.
“The results of this season could condition Marc’s decisions in the immediate future.
“I think Marc knows Honda very well and knows we won’t stop until they give him the bike he wants and deserves.
“I don’t know when that will happen and whether, when it happens, we will be in time or not to retain Marc. Honda’s dream is that he will never leave.”
He was also upfront about the Japanese marque’s struggles, but also bullish that they will be fixed at some point.
“We have serious difficulties,” declared Puig.
“We’re not hiding it. We don’t have the bike we’d like, but we’ll work hard.
“And, after a few months, I don’t know how many, we’ll have a winning bike.”
The comments come amid reports that Honda has commissioned Kalex to build it a chassis which test rider Stefan Bradl and Marquez could sample at Jerez, in the Spanish Grand Prix at the end of April and/or in the post-race test on the following day.
It had already started using Kalex swingarms in the latter half of the 2022 MotoGP season but a full chassis would be a remarkable step, even if Kalex motorcycles dominate Moto2.
The 2023 season starts tonight at Portugal’s Portimao.
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