Honda's last MotoGP victory came at round seven of the 2008 world championship, and the RCV win drought remains a long way from over after both factory riders crashed out at the same corner in round seven of the 2009 championship.
Both Dani Pedrosa - Honda's only winner of the 800cc era, who took his most recent victory in last year's Catalan Grand Prix - and team-mate Andrea Dovizioso crashed out of fourth place at turn one of Saturday's Dutch TT at Assen; Pedrosa on lap 5 and Dovizioso on lap 11. Both were using the modified RCV chassis.
The double Repsol exit meant that the top Honda rider was seventh place Randy de Puniet (LCR) and that Honda has now gone 18 races without a MotoGP win, which is one race more than the present world championship season.
“The good news is that I didn't hurt myself in the fall and, considering my recent run of luck with injuries, this is a big relief,” admitted Pedrosa, who led the field into turn one. “But of course I'm disappointed with the result today because, even though it's unlikely I could have won the race, I was feeling strong on the bike and believe I could have made the podium.
“My feeling on the machine this weekend has been much better and I have been able to ride close to my maximum potential, so I was quite confident coming into this race. I made a fast start and found a good rhythm, so the crash was very unexpected - for the whole weekend I had no warning this might happen.”
As a result of the accident, Pedrosa is now joint fifth in the championship with Colin Edwards, with Dovizioso just two points ahead - but 53 points from Casey Stoner.
“At the beginning the race was going well and I was lapping with a fast pace - the same as in the practice sessions,” said Dovi, after his first DNF of the year. “Fourth place was looking on the cards and I believe that would have been an achievable and a reasonable result for us this weekend, so I'm very disappointed about the crash at Turn 1.
“I had a good start but I was trapped by a bunch of riders and it took me a few laps to get by them. Once I was past I was feeling quite comfortable, although I wasn't sure I could catch Stoner. Then, while I was in the middle of the corner at the maximum lean and I lost the front. I wasn't on the brakes when it happened - we have to lean a long way over in the middle of the turn and that's when it caught me out.”