Despite the shortest pre-season testing program in several decades, Pol Espargaró (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) led most of the Qatar GP, finishing a close third, while Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) ran with the leading group. he eventually crossed the line in fifth place, just 4.099 seconds behind the winner.
Since then, the riders, Repsol Honda Team and HRC engineers have been using the data and information collected in the bike’s first race to further increase performance in future races, starting with the first MotoGP event of this weekend at the new Mandalika circuit on the Indonesian island of Lombok.
Espargaró and Márquez have a lot to accomplish this weekend. Previously there have only been two Indonesian Grands Prix, both won by Repsol Honda riders: Mick Doohan in 1996 and Tadayuki Okada in 1997. Those races were held at the Sentul circuit, near the capital Jakarta.
Before traveling to Lombok this week, Espargaró, Márquez, Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) and Alex Márquez (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) took part in a spectacular MotoGP parade through Jakarta.
Indonesia is crazy about motorcycles and the nation’s two-wheeled fans include Prime Minister Joko Widodo, who led the parade, which also featured fellow MotoGP riders, Indonesian Moto3 World Championship rookie Mario Suryo Aji (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) and his compatriot Veda Ega Pratama. (IDEMITSU Asia Talent Cup).
Espargaro is keen to get running at Mandalika when practice begins on Friday morning, having passed last month’s pre-season testing at the track. The 30-year-old Spaniard enjoyed the layout of the new circuit, completed last year, and believes the new RC213V can race to the front in the second race of the 21-round 2022 MotoGP World Championship.
This is Espargaró’s second MotoGP season with Honda. He took a podium and pole position aboard the 2021 RC213V last year and is already confident that he can achieve much more with the latest machine. Previous versions of the RC213V have won seven MotoGP constructors’ world championships since its launch in 2012.
The most successful RC213V rider to date is Márquez, who has won 59 MotoGP races and six MotoGP World Riders’ Championships with various iterations of the machine.
Marquez won the premier class title for the first time in his rookie season and is now aiming for a seventh crown in his 10th season in the category. He is already the most successful Honda rider of all time, with five more wins than former Repsol Honda star Dani Pedrosa and five-time 500cc world champion Doohan.
The 29-year-old Spaniard was pleased with his fifth place finish at the Qatar GP, so both he and his teammate opted for the safe option of tyres, choosing the soft option front and rear, which worked well but fell short of grip in the all-important final laps. Most importantly, Marquez raced the entire weekend at full strength and without pain, a huge improvement after two injury-hindered seasons.
Like his teammate, Marquez knows the 2022 Honda challenge will only get stronger as its riders and engineers learn more about the RC213V, which focuses its performance on the rear tyre, based on the latest rubber provided by tire suppliers. of MotoGP, Michelin.
Márquez was also fast in the Mandalika specials, only four tenths behind Espargaró, although he didn’t do a time trial on the last day because he wanted to rest his body. Marquez spent several months over the winter recovering from an eye injury, so he was still going strong during testing because he hadn’t been able to do his usual physical training in the off-season.
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) made a positive start to his fifth MotoGP season with a 10th-place finish in Qatar, just behind reigning MotoGP World Champion Fabio Quartararo. Of course, the 30-year-old from Chiba was hoping for a better result, but his career was compromised by a tricky qualifying session and, more importantly, he sees great potential in the new RC213V, which he will unlock race by race.
His teammate Alex Marquez (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) is also enjoying the performance of the latest RC213V. The 25-year-old Spaniard was just ahead of Nakagami in Qatar when he emerged unscathed. Marquez’s younger brother already has plenty of ideas to get more speed out of his RC213V, which he will use this weekend.
The 4.3 km/2.68 mile Mandalika circuit, built in Lombok, the neighboring island of Bali, is full of different challenges for riders and engineers, with 17 corners, some of them taken at very high speed, and a start of 0.507 km/0.3 miles. straight/finish, which is almost exactly half the length of the start/finish in Losail, Qatar. The track has been partially resurfaced following pre-season testing last month.
Honda’s four MotoGP riders strive to continue Honda’s record-breaking performances in motorcycle Grand Prix racing, dating back to its first victories in the early 1960s. The company has been the dominant force in the era modern four-stroke MotoGP bike, with its three different machines, the RC211V (seven rider/constructor titles), the RC212V (two titles) and the RC213V (13 titles).
So far, Honda has won a total of 21 riders and 25 constructors’ championships in the premier class, both all-time records.
Following Sunday’s races, MotoGP continues its globetrotting start to the 2022 season by heading to Argentina and the United States for rounds three and four on April 3 and 10. The European sector of the championship begins with the Portuguese and Spanish rounds on April 24. and can. The season concludes in Valencia, Spain, on November 6.