The Japanese manufacturer have endured a horrific season and their star man, Marquez, has only recently returned from a fourth major surgery.

Marquez missed six races yet is still the highest placed Honda rider in the 2022 MotoGP standings, in 13th place, underlining the woes of a team who, for the first time in 40 years, did not score a single point in a MotoGP race earlier this season in Germany.

Is there a toxic, violent atmosphere in the paddock? | MotoGP 2022 Podcast 66

Repsol Honda rider Marquez spoke about how Japanese manufacturers have fallen behind European counterparts: “The pandemic affected our sport and, once it has passed, it has been seen that the Asian factories as Honda, Yamaha or Suzuki have been more affected than others. 

“I think it has hurt them even more especially because in 2020 and 2021 most of the championship was done at European circuits. 

“Then all the Asian engineers came to live in Europe, but they were no longer in the factory. A lot of communication and level of work went down a bit, although it's no excuse because at the end of the day you are in a world championship and you have to know how to adapt to changes as well, otherwise you are overtaken, and in this case, maybe because of protocol and everything that went with it, there were bigger forces that they couldn't adapt to. 

“In this case Honda has worked and right now they are still working because normality has returned in their country. 

“Let's hope that for 2023 they take a big step forward, but I can't reproach them for anything because I see that the effort is maximum, the involvement is maximum too and I can feel in them the desire to win again. Then there is also the importance of making every step in the right direction.”    

Marquez impressed in a fourth-placed finish at the Japanese MotoGP where he also qualified in pole position but has insisted that the remainder of this season is about testing his bike ahead of relaunching a title challenge in 2023.

"Honda made a big change,” he said. “They are working very hard, but a big change doesn't mean going for the better. In this case we have made a change that is better than the year before. 

“The bike is better, but there are some rivals, other factories, that confirm if that change was good enough or not. 

“In that case the change was not enough because there are two or three brands that are ahead of us right now. I speak in the plural because we are a team and, when we win, the whole team wins, and when things don't work out, it's all about a team as well. 

“Honda is working hard for 2023 because things are not working out. I know I haven't been on track, but that's not an excuse. Some of the riders they have right now, Pol Espargaro and Alex Marquez, are world champions and I think the potential of all Honda riders is not to be in the positions they have been in lately.”   

Six-time MotoGP champion Marquez continued: “Ready to win again is the big question. You may feel ready, but maybe there are some opponents who may be more ready than you. 

“So we'll see. I think my goal for the whole winter is to do well and finish a consistent and complete season. I think that 2023 is still a long way off. 

“There are still three races left and, in order to keep evolving, we are working hard with the team and with Honda to develop a bike which is not at its peak level of performance right now as we are seeing Honda riders suffering a little bit more than is normal, even if that is just part of the competition itself. 

“Some years a bike may 'struggle', and this year that's something affecting all the Honda riders.”

He has demanded that Honda enable him to fight for the MotoGP championship in 2023, after being forced to watch Fabio Quartararo and Francesco Bagnaia duke it out this year.   

“If you are a Honda rider, you race with the Repsol Honda Team and, well, you have the track record you have, you must fight for the World Championship. That's the goal,” he said. 

“Every year, when you start, the illusion, the motivation and the focus is to fight for the World Championship. 

“Then the rivals put you in your place, they give you the answer. They will tell you if you can or can't make it, but the intention when you enter year 2023, on January 1st, the goal is to fight for the World Championship. 

“After that, anything less than winning will not be a job done. However, during the season you may also have to know how to change and improvise and, above all, be realistic with every situation because the season is very long and if, for whatever reason, you find it difficult at the beginning, you can't throw in the towel. 

“Then you have to set yourself other motivations and other smaller goals to continue to fight with the same desire.”