Alberto Puig offers verdict on Honda’s bleak start to 2024

Honda riders have 14 points; Yamaha have scored 18 with two fewer bikes

Alberto Puig
Alberto Puig

Honda’s start to the 2024 MotoGP season has done little to create optimism.

The first year of their post-Marc Marquez era has yielded only 14 points from the first two rounds.

Starkly, fellow strugglers Yamaha have scored 18 points with two fewer riders.

Luca Marini, their replacement for star man Marquez, sits bottom of the MotoGP standings without a point to his name yet.

The four Honda riders qualified for the Portuguese MotoGP in the last four spots on the grid, an early display of their struggles.

No Honda scored a point in the sprint, and Joan Mir’s 12th-placed finish in the Portimao grand prix owed a lot to the late DNFs of Maverick Vinales and Francesco Bagnaia.

Alberto Puig, team manager of Repsol Honda, was quoted by Todo Circuito: "Our riders are not completely satisfied with the performance, but they can see that we are trying our best.

“We are in the development process, that is clear.”

Puig insists Honda are “progressing”.

However he admits: "At the same time, others are also progressing.”

Luca Marini, MotoGP, Portuguese MotoGP, 23 March
Luca Marini, MotoGP, Portuguese MotoGP, 23 March

The bullish Puig summarised: "We have achieved as much as we expected.

“But we have a mission. Our plan is clear.

“We said it last year. It is not easy, but we are investing a lot of resources.

“We have also reinforced the project in terms of personnel."

Honda’s MotoGP project has received help from staff assigned to its Formula 1 programme to develop the RC213V.

The technical team at the top of Honda’s MotoGP project was also reshuffled for this year.

"We are not there yet if we look at the classification,” Puig said.

“But it is a process. Of course, right now we would prefer to be ahead.

“But things are what they are. We will keep trying."

Grip is the obvious area that every Honda rider has declared a weakness.

Puig vows to: "Seek more contact with the ground on the rear wheel when entering and exiting the corner.”

He insists Honda have "made progress recently" but "it is clear that we need more”.

Puig added: "That's all I can say. We are on a mission and we have our objectives.

“People know Honda. We will not stop until we achieve it.”

Puig was asked when Honda might return to winning a MotoGP race.

He answered: "I think we will be able to move forward with the concessions after the summer break.

“Let's hope to see clearer progress in the second half of the season.

“That is our hope and it is reasonable to believe it. Those are our expectations.”

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