In the first nine races, Honda has scored just one podium, or rather the Sachsenring victory that bears Marc Marquez’s name. An extraordinary result, if we consider what the rider’s been through in the last year since injuring his right arm, but the Japanese manufacturer’s performance has been lacking if we consider the situation as a whole. And Alberto Puig is quick to admit this while speaking to motogp.com: “If we look at the results, it’s not going very well overall”.
Marquez’s absence in Qatar
As for the problems, the Spaniard looks back to the start of the season: “We didn’t expect Marc not to be there, that wasn’t good for us”. In addition, Marc’s team-mate this year is a Honda rookie: “Then we had a new rider, Pol Espargaró, who struggled a little to understand the bike, which has a few issues as we’ve already said. Alex (Marquez) is also struggling, Takaaki (Nakagami) too. It wouldn’t be realistic to say the season’s going well”.
But there is always a positive note, the manager adding: “On the other hand, we can say that we’re understanding our real problems with the bike and I think the riders are gradually reaching their true level and potential. Especially Marc, who won in Germany”. At a track where the Spaniard has won each year, he was once again able to do great things: “It was impressive and great for us all, as it allowed us to understand the real situation. If we can improve the bike, the riders will too”.
Who is Marc Marquez really?
The eight-time champion is slowly bouncing back and Puig admits: “I think some people have lost sight of just who Marc Marquez is. I don’t often read the papers but from what I’ve heard from our press officer, there have been some strange comments about his return and his chances. Perhaps there are people who don’t understand his level as a rider”.
Puig only has positive words for Marquez: “His return has been harder than expected. What he’s doing in the circumstances is incredible, because he’s not riding with just one arm, but I think we can say one and a half. He’s clearly not 100%. Only one person can do this, and that’s him. And i’m not saying that as Honda team manager, but as a former rider. His potential is far from that of the others.”
Translated by Heather Watson