Finishing fifth and last in the 2021 WorldSBK championship is Honda after being the lone manufacturer without a win.

Team HRC will have an all-new line-up of Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge to spearhead their efforts this season after the Japanese manufacturer suffered a disappointing second year since returning to the series with a full factory team. 

It’s the second time in three years that Honda have finished third in the manufacturers championship, while it’s also the second time that the points gap between them and BMW has been over 60. 

Alvaro Bautista took the factory team’s only podiums of the 2021 season which came in back-to-back rounds at Barcelona and Jerez. 

And while it’s an improvement over the one podium he managed for the team in 2020, it was achieved with 13 more races and a full second year worth of experience on the CBR1000RR-R. 

It must be added that Team HRC have struggled with development due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but even so, the gap to BMW who themselves finished a huge 265 points behind Ducati is alarming. 

Bautista and Haslam also lost positions in the championship standings compared to their first year with the team. Bautista finished tenth as opposed to the ninth place he managed in 2020, while Haslam finished 13th which is three spots lower than what he achieved the season prior. 

With Lecuona and Vierge coming into the team for 2022, it’s a switch from Bautista - who returns to Ducati for 2022 - and Leon Haslam who looks most likely to return to BSB. 

On the independent team side of things, Honda had fewer options to rely upon than anyone else as Leandro Mercardo was the lone rider. 

Mercardo missed several rounds due to the team needing internal restructuring, while the Argentine also missed round seven in Most due to a positive COVID-19 test. 

Mercado ultimately finished 21st in the championship, however, the 29 year-old will have the added benefit of a team-mate in 2022 after MIE Honda signed ex-MotoGP rider Hafizh Syahrin.