So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

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hdot
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So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by hdot »

Realistically I think this year is a writeoff and if Marc is smart he will take it easy for the rest of the year.... still race to get back up to speed but not go crazy

However he has had tons of shoulder surgeries and is having shoulder problems again. Honda doesn't seem interested in making its bikes easier to ride and the above average injury rates of its riders show that. What's next for them? Would losing Marc be enough to make them change their ways? The old strategy of aiming a money firehose at top talent to ride broken bikes doesn't seem feasible when there are 4 other factories with winning bikes and decent to nearly Hondaesque budgets. That just wasn't the case when Marc signed... MotoGP was a 2 horse race, and now it's got 5 and a half (Aprilia's podium is coming)

Plus as Suzuki showed last year you don't necessarily need to have the most money to win

What do you guys think

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Mikesbytes
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by Mikesbytes »

If Marc is no longer a winner and that depends on his recovery, then we are in an age of no aliens. There is that guy in Moto3 who seems to have the ability to be a future world champion but I'm sure Honda isn't the only manufacturer looking at him
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MiniNinjaMk5
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by MiniNinjaMk5 »

I think it's difficult to read too much into what has happened so far. We know Marc isn't back to full fitness and at Mugello it was even questionable whether he was going to be able to finish the race (although in the end that was a question that didn't need to be answered, unfortunately for him).
I think what is probably true is that the Honda's level has dropped in his absence; other than Nakagami (who hasn't yet managed to really find the race result that we keep expecting) Pol definitely hasn't performed as well as expected, his results are marked step down on what he was achieving last year (also, I'm not sure what to read into that custom Minions helmet, did that mean anything?), and Alex M seems to be struggling too.

Definitely agree the cost saving measures, spec ECU and the like, have helped level the playing field.

I don't think the new Michelin front has helped Honda either. KTM were ridiculously quick in adapting to this with a new frame and have managed to bounce back from poor early season performance. Remains to be seen now if Honda can do the same, but I think if it get's to after the summer break and there hasn't been a podium then I would expect some Japanese staff to start silently getting shuffled out and replaced with other new Japanese staff! :)

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Fingernails
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by Fingernails »

I would guess that if Marc never recovers, that Honda will rebuild and regroup around other riders. I think they have the budget and the organisation to get back to the front reasonably quickly. But, they are certainly in a mess right now. Marc bouncing back seems the only short-term fix. If that doesn't happen, I predict it will be years.

hdot
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by hdot »

I don't see Honda turning the season around without Marc. Everyone in MotoGP is fast. But none of the other HRC riders have even won 1 MotoGP race.

And replacing Marc will be a tall order. Again it's not 2013. Riders have 4 other race winning and 2 other championship winning bikes to choose from. Realistically 3 of the former and 1 of the latter (I don't see Yamaha changing their lineup any time soon). What's Honda's USP? KTM will pay big money for big talent and Suzuki/Ducati will pay "enough". And all their bikes won't try to kill you on every corner. And the factory will actually use your feedback.

Personally I think their recruitment problem is already playing out- look at all the rookies Ducati/Yamaha/KTM/Suzuki have grabbed up in the Marquez era.

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Fingernails
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by Fingernails »

hdot wrote:
Thu Jun 03, 2021 2:55 pm
I don't see Honda turning the season around without Marc. Everyone in MotoGP is fast. But none of the other HRC riders have even won 1 MotoGP race.
This is an interesting statistic. I think it says a lot both about the Honda bike itself, and about their all eggs in one basket strategy.

I think that for the future Honda will be able to pay a top rider to join them. And, surely they can identify talent in Moto3 and manage to hold onto them. Look how well that is paying off for KTM.

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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by hdot »

They haven't just not won on the Honda- Pol hasn't won in MotoGP period. Again I mean no disrespect to him with that. So even if they fix the bike they may not have a non-Marc rider who can get wins on it.

And maybe I am naive but I like to think riders value more than a salary. For example I think Ducati tried very hard to recruit Maverick the last time his contract was up. But anyone who watches MotoGP closely knows how Ducati treats its riders. I imagine Mav wanted no parts of that. Is having your feedback completely disregarded and having Puig as your boss worth a bigger paycheck? I think the grid is already signaling the answer.

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Fingernails
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by Fingernails »

I'm sure that riders value more than just a salary. But, among other aspects of their reputation, Honda have sometimes built their team around a rider and given that rider a string of championships. I'm sure that there will be talented riders who could believe that would happen for them.

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MiniNinjaMk5
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by MiniNinjaMk5 »

From what I have read about Pol, he said that part of signing for HRC was the 'legend' factor and that he always wanted to ride for that marque. Growing up he had pictures of Doohan, Criville etc on his bedroom wall and actually riding for the team is the realisation of a childhood dream for him.
I think HRC/Repsol still carries that for a lot of riders coming through.

HRC put too much money into their team and have had too much success to allow themselves to stay in the doldrums for long. They've had periods before (2000, 2007) but a few managers/head engineers will get dumped in Tokyo harbour and the new guys will steer a direction for the bike.

hdot
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by hdot »

What Honda wants to do and what it actually can do are not necessarily the same thing. That goes for everybody, but some manufacturers more than others. And reputations change. Think about where Ducati was 10 years ago vs today. Or hell, Yamaha a few years ago when its engineers were committing seppuku for not delivering competitive bikes vs now. Things can go the other way too. Maybe I am biased... but I'm skeptical.

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MiniNinjaMk5
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by MiniNinjaMk5 »

Reputations can certainly change, but Honda have a pedigree for success (and they throw the most money of any factory which is maybe the most important thing!) Or they'll just pay enough money to get the rules changed to their favour ;)

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Fingernails
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by Fingernails »

MiniNinjaMk5 wrote:
Fri Jun 04, 2021 10:09 am
Reputations can certainly change, but Honda have a pedigree for success (and they throw the most money of any factory which is maybe the most important thing!) Or they'll just pay enough money to get the rules changed to their favour ;)
I couldn't possibly imagine what you are talking about *cough* Moto3 rev limits *cough* :D

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Mikesbytes
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by Mikesbytes »

Honda tends to need riders who can ride around limitations such as M Marquez and Stoner. That's allowed Honda to focus on providing a particular advantage without having to worry too much about the problems that advantage creates.

I suspect its just a case of M Marquez rebuilding the strength around that arm which will return him to the podium
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MiniNinjaMk5
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by MiniNinjaMk5 »

Yes right, even Doohan and his taming of the NSR500 big bang engine power delivery. Remember him lamenting the bike being made easier to ride with the 'screamer' engine and a smoother power delivery as it meant one of his advantages was removed.

That 'just' is a big one though! We still don't know how quickly Marc's strength will recover and how much of his peak performance will return. You want to think it's possible, and if anyone can do it it will be Marc. But, I don't think I'm being excessively pessimistic to say it's not a guarantee it will happen.

hdot
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by hdot »

Again maybe I'm being too pessimistic- Marc's 2019 chip was probably his most dominant- but I am still not sure that Honda's strategy of blasting a fire hose of money at top talent to wrestle its flawed bikes is a viable one going forward. The field keeps getting more and more competitive, and every detail becomes more and more critical. Even stuff like the level of talent of your rider pool becomes an issue- they have to be at the pointy end of the field to see what the bike is like in that realm. And of course not making the use of rider feedback- either by choice or by inability- puts HRC at a disadvantage to the factories that do.

IME culture and beliefs are the hardest things to change, and I feel like that is at the root of HRC's problems. Yamaha might be second to Honda in all time wins, but they're no scrubs, and yet when the M1 was floundering the factory had the humility to issue public apologieS. I'm not sure HRC even acknowledges the full extent of its role in the current state of its MotoGP operation.

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Mikesbytes
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by Mikesbytes »

What we have experienced is that his arm and presumably shoulder needs the strength rebuilt in it after such a long time of not using those muscles. Currently he seems to not be able to do the saves he use to do and therefor can't ride as close to the edge has he use to. We won't know if Marc has lost his edge until that strength rebuilding has completed.
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MiniNinjaMk5
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by MiniNinjaMk5 »

I think HRC are suffering right now from having a rider that was so dominant and so skilful that it papered over the cracks in the bike, and meant that it didn't develop at the same pace as some of the others (it didn't need to!)
A similar thing happened to them when Doohan was injured in 99 and the factory team had an atrocious 2000 season.
You could also say the same with Casey Stoner and the Ducati, even when Livio Suppo is interviewed now he says that a large part of that WC winning equation was Stoner and it was the reason no other rider came close to his level of performance.
(Incidentally this is why we love bike racing hey, so much is down to the skill of the rider, certainly a much higher % than with cars)

Now Marc no longer has that gap to the others - mostly because of his physical condition, perhaps also because he is not match fit.

I don't think there is anything inherent in HRC's ability to not create a motorcycle that can win races, and in fact the opposite is true. The NSR500 was the most successful 2-stroke ever built and the final champion in that class. The RCV 212 990 is also regarded by a lot of engineers (and certainly riders) as the best motorcycle of the 990 era. Listen to GP tech writer Neil Spalding talking about the bike and it's as though he is describing a piece of art, it was really that good.
I think now they are in a bit of a dead-end that they themselves have built (victim of success through Marc), they have to make a better bike to let him (and other riders!) succeed on it. But, the nature of their organisation and the Japanese hierarchy command culture will make it harder - but they have some fantastic engineers, and most importantly are prepared to throw buckets of money and resources at the project, traditionally far more than any other manufacturer.
Remember in 2007 they built a nail and went in a completely wrong direction with the bike development for the new 800 class. But, eventually they turned it round later that season.

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Fingernails
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by Fingernails »

MiniNinjaMk5 wrote:
Thu Jun 17, 2021 11:19 am
Now Marc no longer has that gap to the others - mostly because of his physical condition, perhaps also because he is not match fit.
It's going to be interesting to see if Marc returns to not only full match fitness but also to reclaim his gap to the others. The latter might not happen not only because of health issues but also if he stops pushing the envelope as much as he has in the past.

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CLX
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by CLX »

If Marc never recovers HRC will need 3 to 5 years and another alien to recover and resemble their best self.

-----
Everything we consider fiction is reality somewhere else. This is somewhere's fiction.

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MiniNinjaMk5
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by MiniNinjaMk5 »

Pretty timely, interesting article and interview with Livio Suppo here about their current travails
https://the-race.com/motogp/ex-boss-sup ... gp-plight/

hdot
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by hdot »

When I saw that this thread got bumped I thought of that article

Wish they had waited until after the race weekend to interview him. Would love to have heard his take on Marc's win

I still don't think they're out of the dog house.

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MiniNinjaMk5
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Re: So what happens with Honda if Marc never recovers?

Post by MiniNinjaMk5 »

I don't either.. there is an interesting article on the front page from David about the win being both the best and worst thing to happen to HRC, which kind of makes sense.

You have to look at where the other Hondas were during the race. Pol has definitely been a disappointment, I expected him to get podiums this year and it's not happening. No-one tries harder though so if there is a way he will find it. Nakagami has been a bit of a disappointment too (and actually his form has dipped since moving from the 2019 to 2021 bike - which I think says a lot).

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