Alex Marquez’s performance throughout 2021 falls well below expectations. The 54 points he’s scored thus far, with a sixth-place finish at Le Mans his best result, serve as numerical proof of the difficulties the Spaniard has had during his first season with Team LCR.
The podiums he scored in 2020, during his debut MotoGP season with the Repsol team, augered well but the rider has not been able to find the necessary consistency since then.
Too many DNFs
What’s particularly surprising is the number of crashes the Spaniard has suffered. He even fractured a foot during an incident at the Qatar tests, a symptom of the fact he’s never found the right feeling with the Honda RC213V.
“I don’t feel comfortable like I did during the final part of last season”, Marquez told the ‘Sport’ publication mid-season. “Starting the year with so many crashes affects your confidence and you can’t fully exploit the bike. We made a change to the electronics during the Jerez tests which really set us back. We then started to improve but need to find that turning point so that we can be as competitive as we can be and need to be”. A path he is apparently still to embark upon, considering recent results.
At Austin, Alex crossed the line in twelfth place, almost 25 seconds from brother Marc and just behind the other factory Honda ridden by Pol Espargaró, who finished tenth.
A bike that only works in Marc’s hands
Aside from the difficulties experienced by the youngest Marquez brother, during what is his second year in the top class, we need only look at the overall standings to see how the Iwata riders are struggling right now. Takaaki Nagakami has scored 70 points, as has Espargaró. The only saving grace for the Japanese is in fact Marc, with two wins and 117 points, which see him place seventh in the championship.
Numbers that explain just how #93 is able to make the difference, despite citing the difficulties of a bike that is not at the level of the Yamaha or the Ducati.
Power is nothing without control
“I don’t deny that we need to improve the bike. We have four riders and, aside from Marc who was injured, the others aren’t achieving results either”, Alberto Puig recently told ‘AS’.
A change that all the Honda riders are keen for, not least Alex Marquez who continues to battle with the powerful but aggressive nature of the Japanese four-cylinder, the rider unable to transfer all the power to the rear wheel. A situation that doesn’t allow for sufficient grip, which results in the many crashes we mentioned above.
Technical improvement is clearly required but the rider needs to take a good step forward too if we want to see Alex Marquez back where he was late last year. The new Honda that will debut in 2022 could serve as a partial solution to the problems.
Translated by Heather Watson