MotoGP 2022
Round 13

Honda Riders All Set For MotoGP’s Alpine Adventure

at Red Bull Ring - Spielberg

This weekend MotoGP races at arguably the championship’s most picturesque venue, Austria’s Red Bull Ring, nestled among hillside meadows and overlooked by the Styrian Alps.

Honda Riders All Set For MotoGP’s Alpine Adventure

The Austrian Grand Prix is the second race of the second part of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship, which will bring the hills alive with the sound of music made by high-performance motorcycle engines.

Repsol Honda team-mates Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) and Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) will play their part in creating MotoGP’s wonderful soundtrack and they hope to have Honda’s six-times MotoGP king Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) at the track with them.

Marquez is currently recovering from the latest surgery to his right humerus [upper-arm] bone, which he fractured during the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix. Therefore he won’t be racing this weekend or any time soon. Instead the reason behind his visit is a desire to maintain close contact with his crew and with Honda engineers, who are currently working hard to improve the performance of the 2022 RC213V.

The 29-year-old Spaniard will watch from trackside and debrief with engineers, which should provide them with invaluable insight.

Meanwhile Espargaro will be doing his best to get back to the front of the MotoGP pack. The 31-year-old Spaniard took a brilliant third-place finish at the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix but has so far been unable to return to the podium. 

Last time out at the British GP at Silverstone he took the chequered flag in 14th place. This was his first race finish since the Catalan GP in early June, because injuries sustained during practice for the subsequent German GP forced him out of that race and also forced him to miss the next round in the Netherlands.

Espargaro has scored one podium at Red Bull Ring so far, in the 2020 Styrian GP.

Bradl will continue his double role as Marquez’s replacement and as Honda’s official MotoGP test rider. The 32-year-old German keeps in regular contact with Marquez, allowing the pair to discuss the ongoing development of the latest RC213V, which won seven MotoGP Constructors World Championships between 2012 and 2019.

Although Bradl doesn’t have the outright speed of MotoGP’s full-time riders he is often in the battle for World Championship points and as always will be aiming for a finish inside the top 15. He rode his last races at Red Bull Ring in 2020.

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu Honda RC213V) is currently Honda’s top-placed active rider in the 2022 MotoGP World Championship, just three points ahead of Espargaro, whom he beat by exactly two tenths of a second at Silverstone.

The 30-year-old from Chiba had a great run of three consecutive top-ten finishes in May and June and it’s his target to regain that kind of form this weekend at Red Bull Ring, where he finished a superb fifth in last year’s Styrian GP.

Team-mate Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol Honda RC213V) finished just outside the points at Silverstone and is confident he can get back into the top 15 on Sunday. The 26-year-old Spaniard’s best result so far this year is seventh in April’s Portuguese GP. Last year at Red Bull Ring he scored two ninth places in the Austrian and Styrian GPs.

Red Bull Ring hosted its first motorcycle Grands Prix in the 1990s, when the circuit was called A1 Ring. The circuit was built in the late 1960s and originally named Österreichring. From 1971 to 1994 the Austrian motorcycle GP was staged at Salzburgring, which was finally deemed too dangerous, so the event moved to the A1 Ring, which had recently undergone a major redesign.

Red Bull bought the track in 2011, investing heavily in new infrastructure, with MotoGP returning in 2016. The layout is very simple, its character formed by three slow corners, followed by long straights, which makes engine horsepower the most important factor of machine performance.

The circuit has undergone a redesign for 2022, with a chicane added at what was formerly the second corner. The low-speed right/left chicane was installed to improve safety.

Honda has scored two premier-class victories at the circuit, when Alex Criville won the 1996 500cc race and team-mate Mick Doohan took victory the following year. Both men rode Repsol Honda NSR500s.

After Sunday’s racing the MotoGP paddock heads south for the San Marino Grand Prix, on Italy’s Adriatic coast, then to Aragon in Spain, before flying east for the Japanese Grand Prix at Twin Ring Motegi, the first Japanese MotoGP event since October 2019.

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro 44
Repsol Honda Team
Races in Austria always seem to be very dramatic but it is always a nice weekend. It’s a very particular layout with a lot of very heavy braking, very stop and go and only a few corners. Let’s see how we perform this weekend, the Repsol Honda Team and HRC are working a lot to improve our situation. I am interested to see how the new chicane feels, the run to the top of the hill was very fast so I think this will be quite different. Our objective is to put together a smooth weekend and qualify better, that’s key.

Stefan Bradl
Stefan Bradl 6
Repsol Honda Team
It’s nice to race in Austria again, the fans always give me a very warm welcome. I have some good experience at the track over the last few years, so it won’t be like in Silverstone where I had to remember the track. With shorter tracks like this, the gaps in MotoGP get even smaller so you really have to work on finding every single tenth because it can make a big difference in practice and for the grid.

Takaaki Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami 30
Firstly I’m excited for the Austrian GP and secondly it will be a new layout for everyone, so it will be important to check well the new chicane on Thursday with my team. I will work as hard as always with my team and I will continue to push to my maximum.

Alex Marquez
Alex Marquez 73
This weekend will be a challenge for everybody because we have a different layout with two new turns. Turns Two and Three will be the new chicane, so we will need to be smart, adapt fast and put everything on point with the bike and especially with the riding style, to put everything together and to try to be the fastest there. We come from a positive weekend in Silverstone – we didn’t finish in the best way, making mistakes in the race but that will make us stronger for this race. I really enjoy this track, it’s really nice and last year was really positive. I’ll give my 100% from the beginning and we need to be ready because the weather is always changing there.

Published on