Track Report by Alberto Puig [Repsol Honda Team - Team Manager]
Marc’s approach today?
The conclusion from the race is that when you are born a champion, you will always be a champion. Today Marc saw the chance to win in Le Mans and even with his physical condition, Marc Marquez tried. He was leading the race, crashed, and then remounted and was again the fastest rider on track. It’s a pity he fell again but his spirit and the will power he has inside is unbelievable. Of course, we are not happy with the end result, but we are happy to see Marc showing us his true self, it hasn’t been lost after all these hard months.
Pol Espargaro meanwhile had an issue at the beginning of the race and was forced to come back from further behind, without this problem he would have been faster. But in any case, his position is not bad, however we are always wanting more.
Overall, we cannot be happy with Honda HRC’s results in France, but Alex Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami both challenged for the podium, finished the race and ultimately we have to take the result as it is.
Positive points and negative points after race?
The negative is that Marc crashed and the positive is seeing the spirit of this man. What really defines you is your spirit. After all these months he has never give up. We could see in Le Mans he saw he had the chance for victory, even if in these circumstances it was untouchable at the end. He wants to win, and sooner or later it will happen. He is not ready from a physical point of view right now, but Honda HRC knows this and waits until he is ready. Probably Marc needs more time, and we are here waiting.
The view from pit wall during race?
At the start it was very exciting to see Marc leading a race again and then after his crash watching his lap times and seeing him close the gap despite being very far away. For the other Honda HRC riders, I think they lost some time at the beginning and were fighting in the mid-field. From the middle of the race to the end they tried to survive and ultimately Bagnaia was faster than them.
Inside story apart from official comments?
Currently we are facing some issues, as we said in Jerez, and we are not hiding this. We have to improve the RC213V, we must. Marc’s circumstances are unique because he is still injured, and he is not 100% fit. His focus is returning to full strength step by step. But on the other hand, we have to improve the bike and this is what the engineers are trying to do and they know the time frame for this. The next two races (Mugello and Barcelona) are two very demanding tracks, especially Mugello, and we need to find a very balanced machine. Let’s see if we can prepare some solutions, arrive, and do our best.