Honda: 'New concepts are from the riders', relationship with Marc 'really easy'

Alberto Puig says Honda's 'new concepts' for the 2022 MotoGP season are based on having a 'clear idea' of what needed changing. Calls Marc Marquez relationship 'really easy'.
Marc Marquez, MotoGP, Sepang MotoGP test 6 February 2022
Marc Marquez, MotoGP, Sepang MotoGP test 6 February 2022
© Gold and Goose

Alberto Puig is confident Honda can bounce back during the 2022 MotoGP season after making radical changes to the RC213V. 

2021 was one of the team’s worst seasons over the last 20 years, but even so, Honda still managed to claim three wins thanks to Marc Marquez, who himself remained less than 100% fit throughout the campaign. 

With the RC213V being largely out-developed in recent years by several manufacturers, and thus in need of a revolution, the 2022 bike has already introduced a new engine, chassis, electronics and fairing, while also bolstering a redesigned look at the rear of the bike. 

Another area of concern in 2021 was rear grip, however, both Repsol Honda riders Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro have been impressed with the improvements made in this area. 

Speaking about the new bike and why drastic changes were made, Repsol Honda Team Manager, Alberto Puig said: "Let’s say the new concepts are from the riders, the guys that know how the bikes are working. But everybody in the team, we have a general feeling of what the weak points of our bike and what the good points of our bike are.

"So we all had a clear idea of what we had to improve and yeah, we want to believe we are on the way.

"We already made some steps last year during the test in Misano, we reconfirmed it in Jerez during the winter test in November and now we have to see if all our thoughts, all our preparations are put together and we can come up finally with not anymore a proto-bike but the real, proper bike for this season."

During the team’s bike launch, Takeo Yokoyama, Repsol Honda Technical Manager, also spoke about the new ‘engine concept’ for this season.

"Let me start from the engine concept or philosophy because there were actually two years of development," added Yokoyama. "This included the first phase which was more for studying because of the Covid situation, the practical job of the workshop has been restricted. 

"Anyway, we were able to start some studies which normally we do not have a lot of time to do but this time because of the circumstances we had a longer time for a deeper study. 

"We decided to change more than usual, but I’m not talking about the power, it’s more the characteristic of the engine, the power delivery.

"In the end we have come to the conclusion that we actually have to change a lot more than what we usually do. 

"This also affects the way the engine is mounted to the chassis and of course this is also related to the whole bike and ultimately its appearance when we are talking about how the bike looks."

While Espargaro has looked fast and consistent during the lone pre-season test at Sepang, the team’s hope of winning the 2022 title is expected to fall upon eight-time world champion Marc Marquez’ shoulders. 

Despite Marquez’ dominance over MotoGP being greatly reduced during the last two seasons due to a shoulder injury suffered in 2020, the relationship between Marquez and Puig/Honda team has remained ‘really easy’ at all times, whilst the ex-rider also believes Marquez would have won the title in both 20 and 2021 had it not been for the injury.

Puig added: "When you check his career in Honda the relationship between this company and this rider, it has been very, very successful and from my point of view, I mean, since we started to have a relationship working with him and his people, I can honestly say it’s really easy because it’s quite direct. 

"If I have something to say, I say. If Marc has something to say, he says. He knows what he can and cannot do and he says to me also. 

"And then, I mean it’s really, it’s really easy even in the tough times because the last two years you can imagine was really difficult, for him especially.

"I have to say, and I know I say it because I work in Honda, but I clearly believe that if he didn’t have this problem in the shoulder, he would have won these last two years also, clearly. It’s my opinion, and I can be wrong, but it’s my opinion."

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