Track Report by Alberto Puig [Repsol Honda Team - Team Manager]
In the Winter Tests, the bike looked competitive but from the Indonesian GP – the results were not as expected.
Yes. At the beginning of the season we thought the 2022 bike was very competitive, but ultimately we were wrong. The first test and the first race probably gave us some information that was not the reality and we therefore misunderstood the situation. From the Indonesian Grand Prix, things have been going from bad to worse and we came to a point where we all know what happened. Marc Marquez had to stop due to his right arm surgery, there have been many crashes from all our riders, we are not fighting for good positions, and all of this is probably a consequence of not finding what we had planned and expected from testing last year for the 2022 machine.
In another Track Report you mentioned, “we have found where the problem is.”
We have basically understood where our problem is, but it’s not easy to fix. If it was easy to fix, we certainly would have fixed it already. We think, we believe, that we have some chassis problem and we have tried some different solutions but there has not been a complete answer for it so far. It doesn’t mean that we don’t understand the problem, what we have yet to accomplish is finding a solution for the problem.
In the MotoGP Team Manager Press Conference you said, “We maybe have to change the strategy for the future.”
I don’t think it’s a maybe, I think we have to because we are not achieving our targets. Honda is a company that has always been a leader in the racing field, especially on two wheels. This is our DNA! We are not achieving this goal of leading, so we need to change the approach we have. We have done it in the past and we have to do it again now in the present.
How do we approach the second part of the season?
From the perspective of the riders, there is one story and from a company point of view, it’s another story. They ride the bike and try to do their best with what we as Honda give them. From the company point of view, it is clear that nobody is happy with this situation and we need to do whatever is needed to understand and find the solution. The only thing I can tell you is that in Japan they are trying to get this done, as well as the European staff, the entire Repsol Honda Team is trying to analyse what else we can do to get out of the current situation.
What is more important at the moment, trying to improve the bike for the future or to get good results as soon as possible this season?
The most important thing is to improve our bike and bring ourselves back to the normal level that Honda is accustomed to in competition. This is the number one priority.
Can you give us the latest update on Marc Marquez?
I do not have a crystal ball but I think he is doing well since the last surgery and we expect that everything is going to be OK for him this time. Everything is looking good and he is feeling OK. The doctors are happy and every day that goes by is more positive. Now it is a matter of the bone healing and then we will wait and see.
Is it crucial for HRC to see him riding the 2023 in the closing tests of the year?
The priority is the full and complete recovery of his arm. He understands the same. This is what we have and that we are going to do.
He is also worried about the future RC213V, he mentioned he would like to follow the bike’s development during the summer.
Yes, of course he is worried. We are all worried. He will probably try to attend some races during the summer to see what the news is, what developments there are and what the plan is. We will be happy to welcome him here at the track.
Pol Espargaro could not race in Assen after the crash in Germany and he went back home to visit the doctor. How is he now?
He is injured. His crash in the Sachsenring was a hard one and we saw he could not race there or in Assen. Normally these kinds of injuries involving ligaments and the ribs are super painful, sometimes the pain is bigger than with a broken bone. To ride these bikes, with their power, in a racing position for so many laps is almost impossible with this pain. We only hope that he can rest in this period and he can come back in a good condition in Silverstone. He likes the British track, and we believe he can put in a good performance there.
As a Team Manager, how can you give hope to the team, our partners and the fans that support us?
The only thing you can do in this situation is to keep moving forward even if the situation is pushing you back.