Honda “has to change way of thinking” to end MotoGP slump

Honda team boss Alberto Puig says the marque must “change our way of thinking” to end the current MotoGP slump it is enduring.

Takaaki Nakagami, Team LCR Honda

The Japanese manufacturer has scored just 85 points in the constructors’ championship so far in 2022 after 11 races, with it having scored just one podium courtesy of Pol Espargaro when he was third in Qatar.

Since then, its best result has been a fourth for Marc Marquez at Jerez, with the six-time world champion still its top rider in the standings in 13th on 60 points having been absent since Barcelona due to a fourth major operation on the right arm he badly broke in 2020.

Honda overhauled its RC213V for 2022 to improve the rear traction issues which plagued it in previous years, but has seemingly made little progress, while also making the bike harder to anticipate on the front-end.

So bad have Honda’s struggles been in 2022 that in Germany it registered its first pointless result since it boycotted the 1982 French Grand Prix.

Speaking ahead of the summer break, Puig concedes that Honda is “clearly not competitive enough” and says it must change its approach to return to winning ways.

“Well, it’s not a good season for us and there’s nothing to go more deep in the situation,” he said.

“We are clearly not competitive and we have to improve. This is what we’re trying to do.

“You can say it in many different ways, giving a long explanation, but the truth is that we must improve, and we have to change our procedures.

“This is what we are trying to do. In the history of Honda, we’ve had more good moments than bad moments, results wise.

Alberto Puig, Repsol Honda Team Team Principal

Alberto Puig, Repsol Honda Team Team Principal

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“But now we are in a bad one, so now we have to fix it.

“The history of Honda is they never give up. We can take this time or that time or that time, we will get there.

“But we probably have to change a little bit our way of thinking, and the key point is don’t give up in the chase, in the will to find the better solutions.”

In terms of its rider line-up, Honda will go in a new direction in 2023 as it gets set to shelve Pol Espargaro, Alex Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami.

Marquez, who will move to Gresini Ducati, is set to be replaced by Suzuki’s Alex Rins, while 2020 world champion Joan Mir is set to take Espargaro’s place at the factory Honda squad.

Nakagami looks like he could lose his place to Moto2 frontrunner Ai Ogura, while Espargaro is set to return to Tech 3 and KTM.

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