Honda is saved by the minimum

They have not needed more than the words of marquez after the Valencia GP, to perfectly summarize what the season of Sling: “There’s hardly ever a weekend where something doesn’t go wrong.” The Japanese brand seemed to have found the right direction to win again, but as the races went by they came face to face with a much harsher reality than they expected. After a winter focused exclusively on developing a revolutionary prototype with which they intended to regain their hegemony in MotoGP, the brand of golden wing a motorcycle was found full of shortcomings and complications that have conditioned the riding of all its riders, without the need to take into account the complexities that the RC213V already presents when someone has got on its handlebars.

Despite the fact that in the first round of the course Pol Espargaró’s podium shed some optimism in a year where, a priori, Márquez had to return with certainty, little by little it became clear that this bike was not prepared to win and its champion, neither. Marc decided to undergo surgery for the fourth time to finish straightening his shoulder and the decision ended up being anticipated, in part, due to his situation in the championship. The options of fighting for the title were nil and in case there was any kind of doubt, it was only necessary to look at the figures. In no classification did the numbers smile at Honda and that position was the result of an impossible motorcycle for everyone also counting on the eighth champion, who has ended up marking the least competitive season of the golden wing since the MotoGP era began in 2002.

The history of the World Cup had made Honda the most successful brand in its entire career and that is, if we also took into account the results of the Japanese manufacturer since 1982 (a course in which they returned after 10 years away), their dominance would still be more overwhelming. Until Márquez’s injury came in 2020, the ‘golden wing’ team had never gotten off the podium in the constructors’ table. The same one that they have closed this season with only 155 points. In the past they always moved in the first three places and to make matters worse, they took 24 of the 38 titles that have been disputed since then to a course like the current one, where they have not even had options to be a candidate to lead. the classification.

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No Honda driver has finished the year inside the top-10 in the drivers’ standings and that is seconded by his position in the manufacturers’ standings. Criticism from those who risk the type on the track, Marc, Pol, Álex and Nakagami, have been constant throughout the season, but even that has not unleashed an imminent reaction in the Japanese garage. They are already working on the 2023 prototype, yes, to try to recover a long-awaited domain over a year in which 293 points have separated him from the first position conquered by Ducati. The gap is too important with the head to go unnoticed, but the 44-point margin that Suzuki has is also impressive, in fifth position, compared to the mark of the golden wing in his farewell year.

The most worrisome season

Although it is not the season with the fewest points on the scoreboard for Honda, it is the most worrying of all. It was in 2020 when they registered the lowest number so far, 133, but that year in which they finished fifth just ahead of Aprilia was marked by the reduction of the calendar as a result of the coronavirus. Although coincidentally, it also coincided with the absence of Marc. Since the ilerdense arrived at the Japanese garage in 2013, the one from Cervera became an elemental figure for the evolution of the golden wing brand and the need for that guiding figure has become Evidenced in these three years where Márquez’s injury has brought to light all the weaknesses of a prototype that was always below the level of the pilot that made him a champion together with his best version.

The injury in Jerez brought back a Márquez conditioned by his situation, who was still able to compete “with an arm and a half” as Puig pointed out at the time. Without being 100% recovered, during 2021 Marc was able to add three victories to Honda’s record but the bike deviated so much this season that it was impossible to repeat the feat but no, save the Japanese team by the minimum. Qatar’s two podiums (at the hands of Espargaró) and Australia (thanks to Mark) have avoided concessions (for teams that have not achieved any podium) for the Japanese factory, but they have imposed the need to develop a winning motorcycle that will take them out of their worst historical streak in the World Cup.

Honda results in the MotoGP era

SeasonPointsPositionSeasonPointsPosition
20023901st20133891st
20033951st20144091st
20043551st20153552nd
20053412nd20163691st
20063601st20173571st
20073132nd20183751st
20083153rd20194261st
20092972nd20201335th
20103422nd20212144th
20114051st20221556th
20124121st

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