Five questions raised by Honda’s breakthrough MotoGP signing

Joan Mir’s switch to Repsol Honda for the 2023 MotoGP season has been a poorly kept secret in the paddock for so long that it’s easy to underestimate the potential impact of the 2020 world champion’s transfer now that it’s finally over. official.

Although this has been the subject of open discussion for a while, Mir’s arrival alongside Marc Marquez raises many intriguing questions.

Some of these questions, of course, will be answered very quickly – but others might take some time for us to fully understand.

How good is Joan Mir really?

Perhaps the most pertinent question of all. Of course, Mir is obviously already a top-class world champion (as well as a Moto3 title holder) thanks to his success in 2020 – but to say the circumstances of his win were unusual would be an absolute understatement.

Picking up victory in a largely delayed and shortened championship race in back-to-back weekends mostly in his native Spain at the height of a global pandemic, he won the title with consistency, not speed, winning only one race during the year.

But none of that takes away from the raw talent he obviously has – a talent that is perhaps even somewhat masked by the Suzuki he rides.

It’s not a bike that’s necessarily suited to Mir’s late-braking skills, and the Honda should actually be more in tune with his styling – meaning chances are he’ll be even faster. on board.

How good is the current Honda RC213V?

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It’s pretty obvious that something is very rotten with Honda right now. The 2022 season has been an absolute disaster, with the marque’s streak without a podium now dating back to the opening round of the year in Qatar – breaking its race record without a podium, which dates back to 1982.

And while part of the reason is Marc Marquez’s lack of a bike built almost entirely to suit his preferences and, therefore, partially unusable for anyone else, some of the new problems with this year and rider comments seem to suggest that there is something fundamentally wrong with the RC213V.

However, you could say the same about the current Yamaha M1 without Fabio Quartararo, given that it hasn’t even come close to a podium finish with anyone else since 2020.

The arrival of Mir, an aggressively styled Marquez-style rider, and the return of a hopefully fit Marc himself will go a long way in diagnosing the root of Honda’s problems.

How will Marc Marquez handle a potential rival?

Mark Marquez

It’s fair to say that Marc Marquez hasn’t had a real rival in his garage since, arguably, his debut season in 2013 when he lined up alongside Dani Pedrosa.

But the most successful rider who has never won the golden age of a MotoGP championship began to falter soon after.

But in Mir, Marquez has someone who – on paper at least – will be able to take the fight to him.

A former world champion who is certain to be stronger than Marquez’s last MotoGP champion teammate, Jorge Lorenzo (whose Honda season was a total disaster), it’s telling that rumors persist that in the past Marquez – when he had stronger bargaining powers – once canceled a Mir move to Honda.

How Marquez handles internal opposition, if Mir lives up to expectations, however, will be fascinating to watch.

It’s unlikely to turn into a full Valentino Rossi v Lorenzo style feud at Yamaha in the box, but it has the potential to heat up nonetheless – and make for great viewing!

Will two world champions complicate life for Honda?

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Of course, it’s not just Marquez but also Honda who will have to deal with the addition of a new world champion to the garage.

And how that will tell us a lot about the direction in which the team sees its future.

A bike that follows Mir’s lead could well be a useful thing for Honda given how unusable the current machine seems – but also risks alienating a Marquez who is already openly questioning his Honda future for the very first time. .

It’s hard to deal with – and the blunt instrument that is Alberto Puig may not be the man for the job, something that ties into rumors that Honda is looking to, at the very least, add someone like Davide Brivio to its management structure in the future. .

What will Mir’s arrival tell us about Marquez’s fitness level?

Marquez training

It is possible that at the start of 2023 we already have a good assessment of Marquez’s fitness levels, given that it seems increasingly likely that he will make a return to racing before the end of the season in Classes.

But should he return and struggle to regain his previous level of dominance on the show, it would mean questions will always remain over whether the series of complications he has endured with his right-hand man since Jerez 2020 has had a lasting impact. on its capacity. to win.

Adding Mir to the mix might not conclusively answer this question one way or another – but if he struggles on the bike like other Honda riders did in 2022 or, alternatively, find success when Marquez can’t, then we’ll know more than we do right now.

Is a Mir/Marquez team good news for MotoGP?

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This one seems easy enough to answer (as long as the bike is better) with a pretty conclusive yes.

If there’s one thing MotoGP has been missing lately, it’s a great rivalry – and there’s no better place to start than in the same garage.

It’s no secret that Marquez is someone who likes to play mind games and is much tougher than his sometimes friendly demeanor suggests.

But the same applies to Mir, who has been more than willing in the past to demonstrate his own aggression (mainly, it seems, directed at Jack Miller).

If the pair and Honda find their form and get on their way there, there’s the potential for something that can only help the Championship at a time when viewership numbers (even in the heart of the Spain, which has no title contender since Mir’s triumph) plunge.

About Rachelle Roosevelt

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