Honda takes center stage when MotoGP resumes

The 2022 championship sees Fabio Quartararo dominate on his Yamaha, closely followed by Aleix Espargaró and Aprilia, with Ducati in ambush. The big absentee remains Honda, which sees all the eyes, between a wayward bike, an absent leader through injury and an as-yet-unconfirmed 2023 line-up.

If the mistake made by Fabio Quartararo during the last Grand Prix of Assen, more than a month ago, allowed Aleix Espargaró to get closer to the championship, but it did not take away from the Frenchman the solidity he had shown until then, nor go back to the order established since the beginning of the season.

Above the lot, his level seemed almost unattainable in the eyes of his rivals. “The problem is that Fabio is faster than me on Sunday”, had recognized Espargaró during the previous meeting at the Sachsenring. Second in the championship, 21 points behind Quartararo, the Spaniard has shown a consistency that makes him the only one who can challenge him for the world crown. The third, who is none other than Johann Zarco, is 58 units away, which is more than two Grands Prix apart. As for Pecco Bagnaia, he is on 66 points, and only an overall failure of the three riders in front would allow him to have a chance at the world crown.

Yamaha, Aprilia and Ducati are therefore the three manufacturers currently fighting for the riders’ title and, faced with this realization, all eyes are inevitably on Honda, which is experiencing the worst period in its history. The Japanese brand is, indeed, last in the constructors’ championship, and sees its drivers far behind in the general classification. Despite losing five races out of the 11 contested, Marc Márquez is still his best representative with 13th position.

After undergoing a fourth operation on his right humerus, the arm’s recovery seems to be going in the right direction, at least that’s what he suggests through his social media posts where he shows himself in the process of training. Honda hopes to see him back on the bike before the championship ends in Valencia at the beginning of November, but above all they want to be able to count on him and have his opinion during the tests that have to be done before the winter. That Márquez can participate in the test that will be held after Misano, in a month, seems difficult, but it seems more likely to see him in the one organized after the GP of Valencia.

While waiting to see how the #93 evolves, Honda must focus on its 2023 line-up, both in the official team and its LCR satellite team. Tired of his recent difficult years, Álex Márquez has chosen to leave for Gresini and will be replaced by Álex Rins, as the announcement was made during the summer holidays. The second handlebar has not yet been confirmed, and should go to Ai Ogura instead of Takaaki Nakagami.

On the part of the official team, the arrival of Joan Mir has been expected for several weeks, but formalization is slow to arrive. This situation does not benefit the Mallorcan, who sees Honda in a strong position in negotiations after Suzuki’s withdrawal from MotoGP, which leaves him without a handlebar for next year.

In addition to its riders, Honda must also renew the contract that unites it with Repsol, its main sponsor. Something taken for granted, but also taking longer than expected.

After a five-week break from racing, the manufacturer will now have to find solutions, both in its bike and in its future, and thus resume the 2022 season in hand.

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