MotoGP 2022
Round 1

Honda MotoGP Riders Ready For 2022 With All-New RC213V

qa Lusail International Circuit

The long-awaited 2022 MotoGP World Championship gets underway in Qatar this weekend, with Honda team-mates Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) and Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) raring to go after showing impressive speed in pre-season testing.

Honda MotoGP Riders Ready For 2022 With All-New RC213V

Espargaro was the fastest rider at the final pre-season outing at Mandalika, Indonesia, a new circuit which will host its first MotoGP event two weeks after the season opener. The former Moto2 World Champion was also on the pace at the opening tests at Sepang, where his best lap was just 0.289 seconds off the fastest.

Marquez, who had to rest throughout winter to cure diplopia, immediately showed his potential at both venues, 0.201 seconds off the best lap time at Sepang and 0.421 seconds at Mandalika.

Both riders had to work especially intelligently through pre-season testing – this year limited to just five days – because Honda has undertaken a full redesign of its RC213V for 2022. The machine has been hugely successful, winning six MotoGP Riders World Championships with Marquez and seven MotoGP Constructors World Championships since its launch in 2012. However, a full redesign was required to suit MotoGP’s latest tyres.

Both Repsol Honda riders say the latest RC213V is easier to ride fast, which will help them push the limits even further as they aim to achieve Honda’s 22nd premier-class riders title and 26th constructors title. Honda’s current totals of 21 and 25 crowns respectively are both all-time records in motorcycle GP racing.

This will be Marquez’s tenth season in MotoGP. The 29-year-old Spaniard graduated to the class of kings after winning the 2012 Moto2 title, which followed his first world championship, in the 125cc class, in 2010.

Marquez was MotoGP’s dominant force, scoring six championships in his first seven years in the category, until he broke his right upper arm at the first race of the 2020 season. That injury forced him out of racing for nine months. After returning to action last April he scored three further victories, before missing the last three races, due to issues with diplopia.

So far Marquez has won 59 MotoGP victories for Honda, making him the company’s most successful rider since it first entered the World Championships in 1959. Marquez has won twice at Losail – in Moto2 in 2012 and in MotoGP in 2014.

Espargaro joined Honda last season and had some promising rides while getting accustomed to the RC213V. He scored his first pole position on the machine at August’s British GP at Silverstone and his first podium at October’s Emilia Romagna GP at Misano. He feels much more at home on the 2022 iteration of the RC213V and his speed in testing suggests he will be fighting for podiums once the racing starts at Losail on Sunday evening.

Last year at Losail the 30-year-old Spaniard finished eighth in the Qatar Grand Prix, his first race aboard an RC213V.

LCR Honda team-mates Alex Marquez (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) are also delighted with the latest iteration of the RC213V. Both were very much on the pace during pre-season testing, making them hopeful of their best seasons yet in MotoGP.

Marquez had a great rookie MotoGP campaign in 2020, with two podiums, but had a more challenging time last season, so he’s keen to get back to his best this year. The 25-year-old Spaniard is already a double World Champion: he rode a Honda to the 2014 Moto3 title and won the Moto2 crown in 2019.

This weekend Nakagami commences his fifth year in MotoGP, confident that the 2022 RC213V will help him achieve his lifelong ambition: a first premier-class podium. The 30-year-old has come so close to the podium on three occasions so far, with hard-fought fourth places. He is a former winner in the Moto2 category, taking victories at the 2016 Dutch TT and the 2017 British GP.

Honda riders have enjoyed plenty of success at Losail since the inaugural Qatar GP – MotoGP’s first in the Middle East – in 2004. Sete Gibernau won that race on his Honda RC211V. Casey Stoner was Honda’s next winner, in 2011, riding a Honda RC212V. Marc Marquez was Honda’s last winner at the track, in 2014, aboard a Honda RC213V.

The 5.4 km/3.34-mile circuit, constructed specifically to host MotoGP, is a sinuous test for man and machine, with the layout of individual corners inspired by famous corners at racetracks from around the world. Corner speed and machine agility are vitally important at Losail with only one real straight – the 1.068km/0.664-mile start-finish, which demands plenty of horsepower. Top speeds on this straight reach around 362kmh/224mph.

The Qatar GP is MotoGP’s only night-time event, run under floodlights, although this year’s race starts earlier than previous years, at 18:00 local time, just as the sun goes down. The circuit is lit up by a 5.4-million-watt lighting system.

The 2022 MotoGP World Championship continues with the Indonesian GP on March 20, the Argentine GP on April 3 and then Grand Prix of the Americas on April 10. The European season commences with the Portuguese and Spanish GPs on April 24 and May 1. This is the longest-ever Grand Prix season, with 21 races, concluding with the Valencia GP in Spain on November 6.

Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez 93
Repsol Honda Team
Well, what can I say about the start of 2022? After what we have overcome recently, my motivation to start the season is huge. We have come through something difficult and now it’s time to enjoy. But not just enjoying riding, enjoying competing and enjoying fighting at the front again. This is my tenth year in the MotoGP class and now I am one of the most experienced in the class, there’s many new competitors but the goal is still the same: to fight for the World Championship. We arrive with a new bike, so we need to see how it behaves in Qatar, but we have built a good base and I am looking forward to the weekend and to racing again. It will be my first-time racing in Qatar since 2019, but I am ready. Let’s get the season started!

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro 44
Repsol Honda Team
Coming from the good tests we had, of course I am excited to get started with a new season. I have been training to my maximum in the winter to be as physically prepared as possible. We arrive now in a very different situation to 12 months ago. I know Honda, I know my team and although this RC213V is new – I am understanding it more and more. Yes, we had a good pre-season but when you go racing everything is different. This weekend in Qatar is about making a base line and improving on it each week, I want to be fighting at the front each weekend but it’s early. Let’s see what happens, who appears with what and how the slightly different race time will change the conditions. Overall, I’m just happy I get to ride again

Takaaki Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami 30
I’m really excited and it’s a really great feeling to start a new season, especially because we had a great pre-season. We had a total of five days of testing at Sepang and Mandalika, so two different tracks with the new bike. The 2022 bike definitely has great potential, so I am really, really looking forward to this season. It’s always exciting to go to Qatar, because it’s a special track and we race at night-time. Hopefully we can have great start to the season – fingers crossed and I will try my best

Alex Marquez
Alex Marquez 73
We go into the first race of 2022 from a really solid pre-season. I was fast in my rhythm at both Sepang and Mandalika, so I feel ready for the first race. Of course I would have liked to have some more days of testing but it’s the same for everybody. We have a lot of good things with the new bike. The first race is always nice because Qatar is a special track, although the conditions change so much from the daytime sessions to the night-time sessions, so we will have to work hard to deal with that. I’m looking forward to working with my guys in my second year with LCR and aiming to start the season with a good dynamic

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