From what we’ve heard, Marc Marquez will be out for a while. The third surgery aims to solve a significant problem, which persisted throughout the season. Pain, a broken plate, and a never-ending healing process. Impossible to race in those conditions.

The Spaniard’s RC213 V would be a sought-after ride for many, so who will get the chance? Honda needs to resolve the issue soon, because although we’re still in winter, the Tokyo bosses, Repsol sponsor and team staff all want an answer: who will join Pol Espargarò until the eight-time champ is able to return?

The Dovizioso hypothesis is nice, but it doesn't appear that Andrea and the Japanese management are planning to collaborate. There’s Stefan Bradl, but he is preferred in the role of test rider, his real job.

They need an aggressor, an expert, someone who’s fast and with the right knowledge of the reigning class. With all the youngsters already tied to other teams, the suggestion regarding Alvaro Bautista at least appears to make sense. As long as the SBK team agrees with our line of thinking.

MotoGP, Honda at a juncture: who will replace Marc Marquez?

A direct contract with HRC, the ‘right’ nationality and great technical ability

Alvaro debuted in SBK with Ducati Aruba, worrying Johnny Rea during the first half of the 2019 championship. The Northern Irishman then fought back, winning his fifth title, but Bautista was recognised as a worthy rival and the best ‘rookie’ of recent seasons.

His move to Honda saw him having to adapt to the new CBR RR-R Fireblade, an inline four with explosive potential, albeit still immature earlier in the year. Honda’s only podium in the production-derived series came, in fact, at the hands of the number 19 rider.

Alvaro’s CV is long and includes a 125 title, 250 race wins, positive MotoGP seasons that included three podiums and experience with the Suzuki, Honda, Aprilia and Ducati bikes.

An expert, sensitive rider. Informed. He’s also contracted to HRC, a detail not to be overlooked.

According to some sources, there has been contact between the Spaniard and team Repsol. But if Alvaro Bautista makes a good substitute for Marc Marquez… who would replace Bautista in SBK?

Translated by Heather Watson

MotoGP, 2020 a "historic low" for Honda: zero wins in the Top Class