Huewen: Honda ‘seems to not want to take risks, they’ve missed the rider market’

Along with missing out on several top riders due to a lack of risk taking, Keith Huewen believes Honda’s reliance on Marc Marquez in previous years has led to them being ‘where they are now’, which is struggling to be a force in MotoGP.
Takaaki Nakagami, Honda MotoGP
Takaaki Nakagami, Honda MotoGP

Perhaps no coincidence, but Honda’s time at the top of MotoGP winning races and championships has taken a backseat ever since Marquez suffered his broken right shoulder at the 2020 season-opener in Jerez.

Something he achieved in each of his first seven seasons in MotoGP, Marquez has taken just three wins over the last three years as injury problems have continued to plague him and Honda during that time.

But while Marquez appears to be back to his best from a physical point of view heading into the 2023 campaign, the last few seasons have shown us that an over-reliance on the eight-time world champion’s shoulders have led to Honda being in one of its most difficult periods.

"It’s why they are where they are now," said Keith Huewen on the MotoGP podcast. "Yes, Crutchlow had a hand in helping LCR - I mean he’s a great development rider as we now know - but the fact is they went the Marc Marquez way. 

"Marquez rode that motorbike the way no one else rode a motorbike. The whole world changed around Marc Marquez’s style and the way he did things on a motorbike. 

"When Honda lost Honda’s electronics for instance; when they went to the Magneti Marelli system that they went to - I always remember Colin Edwards saying to me something like the electronics now in MotoGP is backwards by like seven years - the Marelli system didn’t work anywhere near as well on the Yamaha he was riding at the time and it’s the same thing with Honda. 

"It was nowhere near the control over the system that you needed to make it work well. The Honda was a very snappy motorbike, a very quick motorbike but it had the type of power you needed to have more control over. 

"Now, if you’re a Casey Stoner or a Marc Marquez then you can ride round that, in fact you like that [system] - talking about Casey Stoner and one of the reasons he didn’t like Grand Prix racing anymore was all the electronic controls. 


"It’s a situation where Honda lost some of their advantage through Marc Marquez being as good as he was and that the electronics changed a few years ago." 

Huewen also believes that aside from building a motorcycle to suit Marquez and not necessarily other riders, Honda’s willingness, or lack of it, to jump to the front of the queue and sign younger talent has seen them miss out. 

Takaaki Nakagami is yet to fulfil his potential in MotoGP, however, LCR Honda have remained committed to the Japanese rider year-after-year despite other talent with more impressive results being available during the same time.

Huewen added: "They’ve never really seemed to make their way back. It’s always been a one-rider kind of motorbike hasn’t it. Honda seems to not want to take risks with another rider. 

"They’ve missed the rider market a little bit. I mean, Taka Nakagami probably should have gone ages ago and someone else should have been in."

Download episode 75 at the following links.

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