Former Ducati and Honda chief Suppo was in charge at Suzuki last year, where he led Mir and Rins.

Honda look strong on paper - their MotoGP 2023 rider line-up pairs Mir with Marc Marquez at Repsol Honda, and Rins with Takaaki Nakagami at LCR - but last year their riders were undermined by the performance of the bike.

Can Joan Mir deliver big results for Repsol Honda in 2023? | MotoGP 2023

"Both Joan and Alex only have experience with Suzuki in MotoGP," said Suppo. "They’ve only been able to ride an inline-four engine, which riders in the paddock will tell you is easier to ride than the V4. 

“But if they can take that out of their minds and approach the bike as a bike, I believe that will help them. 

“It won’t be easy for sure as they have a very difficult reference inside because Marc is Marc. It’s 10 years that nobody has been able to score more points than him over a season on the same bike. 

“The last time Honda won a race without Marc was back in 2017, which is a very long time.

"They have a difficult challenge in front of them, this is obvious. But I believe both can do it. They’re both super talented and with the right approach, the right mindset, I believe they can have good seasons. 

“It depends on the bike, of course, but I have no doubt over the talent of both Joan and Alex. If they don’t get lost, that talent will show.

"They’ve both got two-year contracts with HRC. I think that’s enough time to get used to a new configuration and enough to prove that they are fast. Every year we start from zero and everyone has the same opportunity. 

“Even though the gap between Honda and Ducati, which is the best bike out there, is huge, I still think they can have a good season."

Honda scored zero points in a premier class race for the first time in 40 years in Germany last season.

Somehow Marquez, who missed six rounds to undergo surgery then returned while rehabbing his arm, was Honda’s highest-placed rider in the MotoGP standings.

Alex Marquez has departed, linking up with Gresini Racing this year.

"Honda now has two former world champions," Suppo said.

"A rider who won two of the last three races and Nakagami, who has proved he is far from a slow rider. 

“They don’t have any rookies, they don’t have anyone there for other reasons. They have four good riders. 

“Three of them are able to win races, two of them win a championship, so they cannot blame the riders if the performance isn’t there. There are no excuses.

"Sometimes when the results don’t come it’s easy for the technicians to say 'yeah but the bike is good, look at Marc or Casey Stoner. The other riders are slipping, they’re feeling the pressure'. 

“But, on paper, they have a very strong line-up. We all know what those riders are able to do so if they can’t do what we know they can, the bike is a problem. You can be sure that if the results don’t come, then the problem is clearly the bike."