A ninth world title is the only possible objective for the eight-time champion. His right arm finally seems sorted, but can the same be said of the Honda?
Marc Marquez has been out with his MX bike. The eight-time champion starts 2023 with a good training session, and what could be better than some off-roading? The number 93 prepares for his sixteenth world championship season, in which he will be aiming for the MotoGP title.
Marc is OK, the RC 213V not so much
The issues relating to his right arm appear to have been resolved. Set to turn 30 on 17 February, Marc is now one of the most experienced riders on the grid and definitely the most successful. With eight personal crowns to his name – one in 125, one in Moto2 and six in MotoGP - Marquez showed clear signs of recovery during 2022, following yet another surgery.
But now there is work to do on the RC 213V, which Marc didn’t particularly like during the preliminary Valencia test. Failing to score even one race win during the 2022 season came as a real low point for both the rider and Honda too. While the man in the saddle is aware that 2023 will bring a decisive challenge, those who provide him with the ride know that he will need to make the most of every opportunity if he wants to come out on top.
And so HRC is doing all it can, or at least this is what it has promised. The minimum aim is to get back on the top step of the rostrum, while the ultimate goal is to do that more often than anyone else. And if the results lead to the title, all well and good. It’s clear that Honda demands the best, and it’s equally understandable that the best wants to get back to being just that.
Marquez and Honda set to take flight once more?
And so to Marc’s training, aboard the CRF 450 in this case. Marquez uses Honda bikes in his spare time, as stipulated in his contract with the Japanese giant. We already know that Marc’s the big name in MotoGP and now the Tokyo manufacturer needs to regain its own ‘giant’ status, as we’ve already pointed out.
To do so, there needs to be a bond between the parties, not a compromise. This means that the RC 213V needs to work well, and it also means that the rider needs to be able to get it working. If just one piece is out of place, they will struggle to achieve the desired results.
The HRC Repsol team awaits the next test sessions at Sepang and Portimao by counting the seconds in reverse. The gap it needs to close with respect to the competition amounts to mere tenths, but these feel like centuries if we look back to the last title won by #93 and the Japanese manufacturer. That was in 2019, many moons ago.