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Ken Kawauchi, Team Suzuki MotoGP Technical Manager
Prime
Analysis

The other Suzuki signing that could transform Honda's MotoGP form

Following Suzuki's decision to quit MotoGP, both of its former riders have landed at Honda for 2023. But perhaps its biggest signing from the now-defunct team could instead be a highly-rated technical manager. Is Ken Kawauchi the right man at the right time to steer HRC back to glory?

Honda was the only brand that failed to win a MotoGP race in 2022, finishing last in the world constructors' standings. The factory team, traditionally considered the paddock's biggest superpower, finished no higher than ninth out of 12 places in the teams' rankings. Meanwhile, the best-placed Honda rider in the championship was Marc Marquez in 13th, and he only scored in 10 of the 20 grands prix. Injuries that continued to plague him meant he missed eight races.

Honda's negative performance last year triggered a profound restructuring for 2023 both in its rider ranks, with the arrival of Joan Mir to the factory squad and Alex Rins to the satellite LCR structure, and at its technical level. Arguably the most interesting development is the hiring of Ken Kawauchi as the new technical manager. He replaces Takeo Yokoyama, who will now be in charge of supervising the engineering staff that Honda has in Japan.

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