until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

MotoGP

Marquez on Honda's progress since his exit: 'Unbelievable'

by Simon Patterson, Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Marc Marquez says his past - and maybe future - MotoGP employer Honda has made "unbelievable" progress with its bike in recent months.

The Honda RC213V devolving into arguably the worst bike on the premier-class grid was a major factor in Marquez requesting a 2024 early release from his mega-money four-year deal with the factory.

However, he has been clear at every step of the way since that a reunion down the line was entirely desirable - and there's strong reason to view it as a possibility for as early as 2025 given Marquez is currently on a one-year deal with Gresini Ducati.

At Repsol Honda's 2024 launch, team manager Alberto Puig was asked the "very straightforward" question of whether Marquez would return in 2025, and gave it a "very straightforward" short answer: "I don't know."

Joan Mir and Luca Marini, Repsol Honda, MotoGP

Any return from Marquez would be, of course, contingent on a serious improvement to the RC213V - but after a much-revised bike debuted at Valencia last November and has been refined during the off-season while receiving almost non-stop praise from Honda's current riders, Marquez himself admits he's taken note, too.

"I mean, what they've done in the last three months is amazing," said Marquez in an exclusive interview on a soon-to-be-released special edition of The Race MotoGP Podcast.

"And still I have a super-good relationship with my mechanics and with team manager Alberto, and with [Honda Racing Corporation director Tetsuhiro] Kuwata-san and with all the Japanese staff - and what they did in three months is unbelievable.

"They changed completely to a new engine, they changed a lot I know the reaction of the weight of the bike, and of course many different things that already [after having left] I don't know because they have their secret, and it's competition, it's like this.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Ducati, MotoGP

"You can be very friendly with the people but everybody has their secrets.

"But if somebody can do it, Honda is Honda. They need time. I don't know if they will need six months or two years.

"But they will come back to the top, as they did in the past."

The Race put Marquez's words to both factory rider Joan Mir and LCR Honda newcomer Johann Zarco, and was met with knowing acknowledgments from both.

"Yeah, yeah-yeah - it's crazy, no?" said Mir. "In Valencia... because, OK, 'three months' but in Valencia the bike was very similar to now. So they made it in one month and a half or two, I don't know.

"They changed completely the concept of the bike, the bike honestly works better in every area than the last one, last year's one.

Joan Mir, Honda, MotoGP

"But, well, we still have similar problems at the moment. Faster but similar [problems]. We'll see."

Zarco agreed that Honda has made "a lot" of progress.

"And I'm so lucky to arrive in that moment," he said. "It's the right moment.

"They were a little bit stuck in the organisation, and now they could move on and you feel for all the spirit of Honda, of the people, that they have like a new air.

"You see them also happy when they are working, even if I didn't know them before. But the way I can see them, I see the Japanese with good faces.

Johann Zarco, LCR Honda, MotoGP

"And also, to lose Marc was a big thing, that now they swallowed it and they really look forward."

But Puig's answer at the launch suggests that, as much as Honda may have "swallowed" Marquez's exit it will never rule out linking up once more with its six-time champion.

And Marquez's clear admiration for its recent efforts - compared to the frustration he'd felt with previous developments that led him to his exit decision - really does suggest that reunion could come sooner than later.

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