Let’s talk about MotoGP: What is LCR Honda worth in the middle of the season?

It’s historic: Honda is experiencing one of its worst years at the Motorcycle Grand Prix. Currently behind the constructors’ championship, the winged firm cannot do it without Marc Márquez. CSFa long-standing satellite team, is logically doomed to this infernal spiral.

Directed by Lucio Cecchinello since 1996, LCR Team is one of the figures of the MotoGP world championship. Renowned riders there brushed their teeth for over 20 years, such as Casey Stoner i Stefan Bradl. Since 2018, the training registered in Monaco has two machines a year, including one of direct support for the Honda factory with Takaaki Nakagami on the handlebars. The results were far from bad, because if “Taka” fought, Cal Crutchlow could play in the lead.

But since 2021, it has been a descent into hell. Cal is replaced by the promising one Àlex Márquez from Honda-Repsol. In principle, this descent was to be beneficial to Mark’s brother. Playing with machines for the current year, I could expect to train with less pressure, for a day going back up. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Last season was anecdotal for the LCR couple; no podium in sight, and only the men of Technique 3 can say the same. Nakagami, once incisive, does no pole position or fast lap, like his teammate.

Despite some outbursts, Nakagami never confirmed in MotoGP. Photo: Michelin Motorsport

It’s sad to say, but 2022 doesn’t start stronger. LCR is penultimate in the team ranking, and has even lost 27 points compared to the total of 2021 after 11 races. In a season where 13 pilots they are already in the box, Álex and Takaaki are unable to climb beyond 7th place. Also, there is no need to go back to the Barcelona incident, sad low light of the Nakagami season.

For now, the Japanese still has an advantage over his teammate and precedes him by 15 points in the standings. When they saw the goal, Taka finished ahead of Alex seven times, two ahead of the Spaniard. In the rankings, it’s even worse. Nakagami scores an 8-2 to Márquez which is often among the latter. However, his effort in Barcelona stands out, where he started from last place without being able to complete a lap in the classification, to finish 10th. How does the future look in all this? The answer varies by rider, but we shouldn’t expect a miracle for this season finale. To see good performances, Honda would have to review their copy a lot, and that the LCR pair would find that aggressiveness that characterized them.

Takaaki is quite old (30 years, which makes him old in modern MotoGP where young guns abound), and his place seems to be elsewhere. Ai Oguraexcellent in Moto2 within the structure Honda Team Asia, looks well equipped to replace him next year. Nothing has been done yet, but it is the most logical solution.

Márquez remains one of the few champion drivers in the two smaller categories. Dani Pedrosa, Manuel Poggiali and … Marc Marquez have achieved this feat in the 21st century. Photo: Michelin Motorsport

On the other hand, Márquez was offered a Ducati handlebar Gresinipresumably instead ofEnea Bastianini. This is a very good opportunity for the Spaniard, certainly one of the best on the grid. According to many sources, including Carlo Pernat, Honda mentally destroyed him. Can we really blame him? Alex is still a two-time world champion, and he has everything to prove. Nothing better than the smallest MotoGP team – in theory – to redo its name. Márquez’s style could be adapted to the Desmosedici, a high-performance machine no matter what: knowing that we will evolve in competitive equipment gives a lot of confidence and allows us to approach the year with confidence.

Marriage is unexpected but it makes you want to believe in it. We really think he can go back and play in more interesting places, with a revenge mindset. It is, in the sense of the author of this article, a much better association than Rins / CSF despite Officer Suzuki’s talent, still on paper. However, we were anticipating a possible return to Danilo Petrucci’s business at Tech3 in late 2020 and we were wrong: the mayonnaise didn’t take over. These situations are often “Double set aside”, and sometimes breaks. We hope for the best for Álex Márquez!

Of course, this article only reflects the thoughts of its author. Feel free to tell us what you think of this transfer in the comments!

Cover photo: Michelin Motorsport

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