Honda boss Alberto Puig says Marc Marquez’s injury will not change Honda’s motorcycle philosophy and believes he will return to his former self “because he’s not afraid”.
Marquez fought with Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia until the last lap at the Aragon GP last Sunday, but ultimately finished second in an exciting duel behind the Italian.
The counterclockwise nature of Aragon negated the limitations Marquez currently still has with the right side of his body, while also allowing him to bypass the Honda 2021’s shortcomings.
While Marquez and Honda are still far from their 100% potential, there have been many who agreed that the Japanese maker’s poor performance is a direct result of its own philosophy – which focuses most of its resources and attention on Marquez without taking into account the needs of the other drivers of the brand.
For Puig, what happened to Marquez won’t remove Honda a millimeter from the approach that has led the Japanese manufacturer to six titles with the Spaniard in seven years.
“Our philosophy will not change in any way because Marc has been in pain for a year and a half,” said Puig to Motorsport.com in Aragon.
“He’s not just another driver. Not only is he the best Honda rider, he’s the best in the world.
“We have a long contract (until 2024) and we will do everything we can to give him the bike he deserves. Pol, of course [Espargaro] is very important too, but Marc’s track record is what it is. “
The numbers are the main argument from defenders that Honda is wrong about putting all the eggs in one basket.
At the 15 Grand Prix that Marquez missed while recovering from his broken right arm from last year’s Spanish GP, Honda took just two podiums at Le Mans and Aragon, both second places for Alex Marquez.
Since returning to Portimao, Marc Marquez has already achieved these two podiums from 2021 by winning at the Sachsenring and finishing second at Motorland last Sunday – although this season, at 18, he had the most falls of all drivers.
Despite missing the first two races, Marquez is the top placed Honda rider.
In the overall ranking he is tenth with 79 points. Takaaki Nakagami is next in 13th place with 64 points. Pol Espargaro is 14th with 55 points and Alex Marquez is 15th 49 points.
If HRC does not intend to change its strategy through Puig, it is based on one belief: the belief that its flagship will be able to assert its dominance again.
And this belief stems from a more than proven feeling: “Do you know why I have no doubt that Marc will become his old self again? Because he is not afraid,” says Puig.
“Because he stopped for a long time and when he ran again, he fell again very quickly. But he got up and walked even faster.
“With a rider, fear makes the difference between those who are in front and those who are not; those injured on the first day are eight tenths of a second behind the first, then a second back, then two seconds back and then they go home. “