Track Report by Alberto Puig [Repsol Honda Team - Team Manager]
Marc took a necessary and very difficult decision during the weekend.
Yes. We have been analysing the possibility of another surgery for quite a while and finally this weekend we had the green light from the doctors. On Friday we found out it was possible to do this and we decided to follow this course of action, for Marc Marquez to stop racing and travel to the US for surgery to try and finally resolve this problem.
How does a company like Honda HRC approach the future?
Obviously, it is very complicated and the last three seasons have been very difficult but, as I often say; life is not what you want, it is what is it.
This is the situation we are living in at this moment and we have to keep going, we need to understand, during this period without Marc, how we can continue to improve the RC213V. We will replace him with our test rider Stefan Bradl because this is the only possibility we have. A MotoGP bike is a complicated machine, and you cannot put any rider here, you need someone with experience.
How has this situation impacted the Test Team’s plans?
Of course, the development and evolution of our new bike can be affected by this. Our goal, and our duty, is to try to make the best possible results with the information we can get. We have our test rider and three other riders that can give us a lot of input. But of course, when you have a rider like Marc out and not riding the machine for so long, this clearly impacts the approach of the engineers. This is not an excuse, and we will try to do the best we can!
When will we know how long Marquez’s recovery will be?
The priority now is Marc’s surgery, that it is proceeding in the correct way. From the side of our team we will keep going, we have a test in Barcelona after the next race as well. When the doctor finishes the surgery, then we will know more or less what the timings are and when we can start to expect Marc’s return.
Marc received the final opinion of the doctor after FP1, but he still decided to race in Mugello on Sunday. What else is there to be said about his mentality?
It’s really impressive, what Marc did during the weekend. The easy option was not to race. Knowing that you have an operation on Thursday, you can have the fear that all that can happen on Sunday would have been a disaster, that you take risks, you damage yourself and then everything is delayed. Marc is very focused, very serious about his job, he loves racing and he wanted to do this GP. He did it and finished the Italian GP safely. As I said on Saturday, we want to thank him for his efforts and now we will wait for him. We also think he is grateful for Honda’s understanding during this difficult period.
Not an easy weekend for the other Honda riders.
Yes, it’s a pity because Pol Espargaro was quite strong during the weekend. He had a good grid position but his start was not good. Later he crashed and this is the negative point of the weekend.
In the Moto2 class, the Japanese rider Ai Ogura is now leading the championship after his fourth podium of the season.
We are happy for Ai Ogura and now he is leading in Moto2. We knew he had this potential and we have been backing him and supporting him for many years - since he started in the Asia Talent Cup. Now he is developing all his skills and potential in the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia and he is a clear contender for the title.