MotoGP 2022
Round 20

Marquez’s Podium Charge at Valencia Finale Ends With Tumble

es Circuit Ricardo Tormo

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) started today’s 2022 grand finale at Valencia from second on the grid with the hope of ending the season with a podium at worst and a victory at best.

Marquez’s Podium Charge at Valencia Finale Ends With Tumble

The 29-year-old Spaniard was in the lead battle from the start, completing the first lap in third place and staying inside the four-rider leading group for more than one third of the race, biding his time and saving his tyres for an end-of-race attack.

As the six-times MotoGP World Champion began the tenth of 27 laps around this tight and twisting circuit he was trying as hard as ever as he braked with a bit of lean angle into the Turn Eight hairpin. One moment he was in full-attack mode, the next he was down and tumbling through the gravel safety zone. He was unhurt in the tumble but extremely disappointed. Now his attention turns towards 2023, which begins with a one-day test here on Tuesday for the entire grid.

This has been a challenging and difficult season for Marquez and Honda. Marquez, who won the MotoGP crown six times with Honda between 2013 and 2019, had to miss six races to undergo a fourth operation on the troublesome right-arm injury he sustained at the first race of the 2020 season.

Understandably, Honda hasn’t had an easy time with its fastest rider often absent over much of the last three seasons, but since Marquez returned to action at September’s Aragon Grand Prix in Spain the company’s form has improved dramatically. Marquez qualified on pole position at the very next event, Honda’s home race at Mobility Resort Motegi, qualified second two weeks ago in Malaysia and here yesterday. After finishing fourth place in Japan, he came within 0.186 seconds of victory, taking second place in the Australian GP.

During all these races Marquez has been trying his best to get results but his primary objective has been to improve both his physical strength and find an excellent development direction for the RC213V as Honda go to work designing the 2023 iteration for what will be the biggest World Championship season in history. There will 21 rounds and 42 races (21 sprint races on Saturdays, a new feature, plus 21 Grand Prix races on Sundays).

Marquez’s fall from the leading group in today’s season finale completed another complicated weekend for Honda’s four MotoGP riders.

His team-mate Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) was the first to crash out of his last race with Honda race, after five laps. The 31-year-old Spaniard had started from 21st on the grid, so he always knew his race would be tricky. Espargaro was unhurt in the fall.

Two laps later the younger Marquez brother, Alex Marquez (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) also slid off. The 26-year-old Spaniard, who had qualified in 15th remounted his RC213V, called into the pits due to machine damage, re-joining to finish 17th, two places away from a 14th points-scoring result this season. This was also the last race with Honda for the former Moto2 and Moto3 World Champion.

Honda’s top finisher therefore was Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V), who was coming back from a six-week absence following surgery to a right-hand injury, sustained at Aragon. The weekend wasn’t easy for the 30-year-old from Chiba, whose still-painful fourth and fifth fingers on his right hand didn’t make riding easy at all.

Nakagami started the race from 24th, after being relegated three places for a riding infringement in yesterday morning’s FP3 session. He therefore did well to complete the race in 14th position and claim two World Championship points.

Following Tuesday’s one-day test the MotoGP paddock gets more than two months away from the racetrack before reconvening for the first 2023 pre-season tests at Sepang, Malaysia, in early February. A second test follows at Algarve International Circuit in March, before the season-opening Portuguese GP on 26th March. The championship concludes once again at Valencia, on 26th November.

Takaaki Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami 30
Of course I’m really happy, I scored points and finished 14th. I started from 24th, so I gained ten positions which is a great result after missing three races since the Japanese GP and coming back for the last race of the season. I’m happy, from the first day we’ve made good progress and the team did an amazing job this weekend, so I appreciate all my team members. It’s a nice way to finish and now I’ll try to recover for one day and then prepare for Tuesday’s test. That will be really important for next season so I’m really looking forward to the next chapter.

Alex Márquez
Alex Márquez 73
So we didn’t finish as we planned or wanted to, but life many times isn’t as you want it. Apart from that, I had a problem with the engine in the first part of the race, it was overheating and then I had the crash. I can’t say much more, that’s how it was, but I’m happy to finish the race for the team. I’m really proud and happy with what this team is doing and how they understand races. I just want to say thank you to all the team and I’m grateful to have lived these two years with the team.

Marc Márquez
Marc Márquez 93
Repsol Honda Team
Overall, looking at the big picture, I am happy with the weekend because we showed that the level is there, the rhythm is there, the feeling is there. I understand how I need to be fast and I was happy, but today wasn’t the day. Yesterday I said the target was the podium but from the start I didn’t feel right. I saw that the podium was leaving so I went all or nothing. The speed was there and we know what the issue was today in the race. I am going to work hard this winter to be as prepared and as ready as possible but work begins even sooner on Tuesday. I am looking forward to trying Honda’s first step of 2023.

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro 44
Repsol Honda Team
Today wasn’t the race we wanted. In the slipstream into the first corner I was going wide a lot and one time I went quite wide, made up the time but then when I went wide a second time I couldn’t save it. It’s not what I wanted, it’s a pity. I want to again say thank you to all of my mechanics and the staff around who have stayed alongside me and supported me no matter what. They’ve been behind me through the good and the bad and I really appreciate this a lot. It’s the end of our journey together but the opportunity to race in these colours is something I will not forget.

Published on