“Honda MotoGP Development Not Centered on Marquez Alone Anymore, Zarco Points Out Widespread Benefits.”

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Johann Zarco of LCR mentions that Honda is reaping rewards by avoiding a single-rider-centric approach to developing its MotoGP bike, a departure from the previous focus on Marc Marquez within the team.

The RC213V Honda, which debuted in 2012, underwent gradual transformations to align with the needs of Marc Marquez, who burst onto the scene with the Japanese manufacturer nearly 11 years ago. While the initial decision to tailor the bike predominantly around Marquez led to immense success, with the Spaniard securing six titles in seven years, his injury early in the 2020 season and subsequent periods of absence exposed significant flaws in Honda’s MotoGP strategy.

Marquez’s ability to navigate around some of the RC213V’s core issues meant that Honda wasn’t fully aware of its weaknesses until the bike noticeably fell behind the competition in recent years. Now, with the 31-year-old breaking his contract to embark on the next phase of his career with Gresini Ducati, Honda is adopting a fresh MotoGP approach more in line with the practices of European manufacturers.

A pivotal figure in Honda’s quest to reclaim its leading position is MotoGP veteran Johann Zarco, who has joined the LCR satellite team this season, stepping in for Alex Rins.

Despite consistently outperforming factory Honda riders Joan Mir and Luca Marini, Zarco believes that the entire quartet must contribute to enhancing the RC213V.


When questioned about whether Honda should prioritize him more as they introduce additional components to their V4-powered bike, the former MotoGP race winner responded by suggesting that the Japanese manufacturer is wiser to avoid repeating the errors of the past.

“Putting too much focus on me,” he remarked. “Even though I might have moments of being faster, what matters most is the collective effort to elevate the performance of the Honda, benefiting everyone involved.

“Currently, the significant change with Honda compared to the previous year is the absence of a dominant leader in the factory team. I don’t imply that I am that leader, but our similarities are beneficial for both teams to maximize Honda’s development, and Honda is now proceeding in this direction.

“We can see that in the past, having Marc [Marquez] could cover up any issues, and perhaps they concentrated too heavily on that.

“Zarco guided his LCR-managed Honda to 12th place in the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix last weekend, just trailing behind 2021 champion Fabio Quartararo’s top Yamaha.

“During the early phases of the shortened 21-lap race, Zarco had the opportunity to compare his Honda with Maverick Vinales’ Aprilia, which many considered to be the second-fastest bike entering the new season.

“Zarco believes the data gathered from the Losail International Circuit will enable Honda to address the weaknesses of its bike, especially as it adapts to the new concessions system for 2024.

“We must view these races as developmental opportunities because, at the moment, the bike isn’t primed for a podium finish, although it is undoubtedly a significant improvement from the last two years,” he explained.

“Our main reference in Qatar was Vinales. Aprilia is one of the top bikes here. Despite not feeling entirely confident, he had a slight setback at the beginning of both races, which allowed me to stay with him.”

“I also noticed that I couldn’t keep up with him [later] in the race. It was a perfect example to understand my position as a rider and provide feedback on the bike.


“We have some concessions, allowing us more tests and new parts to try out, which will be beneficial.

“The key to the bike is finding the right balance, there’s no big secret to it. Everyone needs to find this balance, and Honda is making progress in that direction.”

Zarco’s teammate and longtime Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami has observed a significant change in the Japanese manufacturer’s responsiveness in recent months, a direct result of the overhaul aimed at reversing its MotoGP decline.

Nakagami notes that he is now having more discussions with engineers than ever before. Additionally, there is a deeper collaboration between the satellite and factory teams, with Zarco and Nakagami receiving new parts simultaneously with Joan Mir and Luca Marini.

“I’m truly impressed by how they’ve transformed their systems, approach, and overall concept,” Nakagami remarked.

“There have been significant changes in the people involved. I’m still getting to know many faces around here.

“The unity between the factory and satellite teams is more apparent, and the atmosphere feels positive.

“I’m now having more conversations with the Japanese engineers, which is great. It feels like a closer-knit Honda family.

“We hope to continue in this direction and improve further because every rider wants a competitive bike. We are focused on gathering more information for the engineers, so let’s keep working together.”

Stay tuned with We4GP for more news.

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