It was a difficult year to say the least for Repsol Honda and Marc Marquez in 2020, as injury complications halted any hope of winning a fifth MotoGP championship on the bounce.

The team also went without a race win for the first-time since 2004.

The date of Marquez's return is still unknown at this stage, his bone regrowth is said to be improving after the infection was treated, but he will definitely miss the upcoming Qatar tests.

By the Spanish rider's side during all his success has been crew chief Santi Hernandez, who admits that a year away will require a slightly different approach when Marquez does return.

"The approach for this season is a little bit different to the past because with one year without riding for Marc with his injury, first of all we have to check how Marc is feeling physically and of course how he will get the new feeling with the bike – this is the most important," said Hernandez.

"But when you are working with a rider like Marc, always you have to try and fight for the title. But of course, it’s a little bit different but in my mentality, I hope, not I hope, I think, and also Marc by himself will think about the title."

While the situation regarding Marquez is unlike anything the team has gone through with him before, the target for Honda does not change. 

Hernandez added, "For the team and for HRC there’s no change. Of course, we want Marc to come back as soon as possible because this is our target and our rider.

"But we are happy to have Stefan because last year he did a great job and now what we want to do with Stefan and Honda is to try and understand the new things we have this season. 

"We need to try to setup as much as we can to be ready for Marc when he comes back to give him all the best and get good results. But the most important is to try the things to be ready for when Marc comes back.”

Repsol Honda are the most successful team in MotoGP and being part of a winning structure would be a dream for anyone. Hernandez has been in the team since 2013. 

When asked about what working for Honda means, Hernandez said: "Like I have said many times, for me when I was young, I was following the races and always the Honda team has been like the best team in MotoGP.

"It’s a dream to work together with Honda and when I started to work with them, I was so happy and proud to work with them.

"I want to say thanks for what they have done last year, it was a difficult situation with Covid, and they respected us and helped us with all the aspects we could hope for.

"I want to say thanks because not many teams or even factories or companies are able to do that, and Honda are working very hard to give us the good things and maintain the calmness in these situations. For this I want to say thanks because in these hard situations they do a very good job."

The 2021 MotoGP season begins on March 28, with two tests at the Losail International Circuit before then. The first of those is on March the 6th where new Repsol rider Pol Espargaro will be joined by test rider Stefan Bradl

 

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