A red-letter day for Marc Marquez and the Repsol Honda Team with a new lap record at the Red Bull Ring as the 21-year old record for most premier class poles falls.
The pace was high from the off on Saturday at the Red Bull Ring as MotoGP riders fought for a place in the top ten during Free Practice 3’s ideal weather conditions. Predicted rain stayed well away and the MotoGP World Championship grid enjoyed uninterrupted running all day on Saturday, able to push lap times further.
Marc Marquez continued his assault on the time sheets immediately on Saturday, dropping into the low 1’23s within just a handful of laps in FP3. His metronomic pace continued throughout and into Free Practice 4 where he ultimately finished third but with formidable consistency.
Again in the low 1’23s, Marquez set the bar throughout Q2 as he targeted a 1’22s around the 4.3km long Austrian circuit. A mistake in the final sector meant the reigning MotoGP World Champion was unable to set a 1’22, but his 1’23.027 did achieve a new all time lap record at the Red Bull Ring. As in Brno, Marquez had a significant advantage over second place – 0.434s faster than Quartararo. With his seventh pole of the 2019 season, Marquez establishes a new record for premier class poles as he took his 59th since joining the MotoGP class in 2013 and overtakes fellow Honda rider Mick Doohan as the most prolific pole setter in the premier class.
A productive FP3 and FP4 session saw Stefan Bradl and the Repsol Honda Team improve the setup of his RC213V but narrowly miss a top ten spot. Heading to Q1, Bradl and the team were confident of challenging for a spot in the top 15 but an issue during Bradl’s second run meant he was unable to show his full potential. Recovering well and finishing in the points will be Bradl’s objective for Sunday.
Sunday’s 28-lap Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich is scheduled to start at 14:00 local time.
“It was a really good lap but I was looking for the 1’22! But I did a mistake in the last sector and I went too wide in Turn 10. Apart from that we did a great job and during FP4 we had a great rhythm, which is the most important thing. Today was a great day, everything and everyone in the team was working so well. We just need to understand the best tyre for tomorrow and let’s do it! We will try to fight until the end and see what happens.”
“It was a tough day today, we were able to try many things but got unlucky in Qualifying and weren't able to improve. We are working very hard with and for HRC to try things for the future and they are pleased with how we are going. We had to change our plan a little in FP4 and this hurt our overall speed. Tomorrow it can only get better!”
Saturday, 10 August 2019 20:35 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Joining an elite group of riders, Marc Marquez claimed his 50th victory in the premier class after a chaotic start to the Czech GP as Stefan Bradl continued his point-scoring run.
Saturday’s dreary conditions were initially nowhere to be seen as race day at the Czech GP began. But a brief rain shower half an hour before the start of the MotoGP race left the track with wet patches and led to a delayed start and a reduced race distance of 20 laps.
After securing pole by 2.524 seconds in thrilling style on Saturday, MotoGP World Championship leader Marc Marquez shot forward to lead the shortened race as the lights went out. With the likes of Dovizioso, Rins and Miller behind, Marquez settled into a consistent pace and steadily opened up a half second lead over his rivals by lap ten. Even with a moment at Turn 10, Marquez’s lead continued to grow as the race went on.
With an advantage of over two seconds, Marquez crossed the line to claim victory in Brno and his sixth win of 2019. He becomes just the fourth rider in Grand Prix history to take 50 wins in the premier class and equals Mike Hailwood’s 76 wins across all classes. Fourth on the all time winner list, Marquez heads to round 11 in Austria with 210 points – 63 points clear of second placed Dovizioso.
Stefan Bradl endured a tough start to his third appearance of the season, but worked his way forward into the points by half-race distance. Holding 14th until late in the race, Bradl continued his run of point scoring finishes with 15th. The German will again ride for the Repsol Honda Team at the Austrian GP with Jorge Lorenzo scheduled to return to action at Silverstone.
The result sees Honda extend their lead in the Constructor Championship to 39 points with a total of 216 points.
Before heading to the Red Bull Ring for the Austrian GP, August 09 – 11, the Repsol Honda Team will remain in Brno for a post-race test on Monday alongside the rest of the MotoGP World Championship grid.
“I was really concentrated from the beginning as there were still some wet patches, especially at Turn 1. I knew I needed to keep my rhythm as the Yamaha riders were starting from behind and they were strong in Warm Up. Then I saw that Dovi was behind me so I had to keep pushing and pushing. I had a little warning on lap 10 because that is when I started to push more to try and open the gap. Delaying the race was the best decision that could have been made because the track was in a mixed condition and it could have been quite dangerous. A crazy weekend with the weather but the whole Repsol Honda Team were perfect and helped me a lot to achieve victory!”
“I’m not happy with the final result because I think we had a lot more potential. Since Friday we have been improving but the conditions of Saturday and lack of time hurt us in the race today and I struggled with rear grip and turning during the race. It has been a very busy weekend and we were able to work a lot for Honda. To score was good but I am hoping for more in Austria. I’m excited to be asked to join the Repsol Honda Team once again next week and I am already thinking about the race.”
Sunday, 04 August 2019 22:35 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Perfect strategy saw Marc Marquez continue his perfect pole to victory record at the GermanGP as Bradl achieved his goal of the top ten.
A gloomy start to proceedings at the German GP didn’t deter local fans who filled the grandstands of the Sachsenring from the early hours. Mixed conditions for morning Warm Up limited running time, but Marc Marquez was able to top the session with teammate Stefan Bradl ending a strong fifth.
With a characteristically strong start, Marquez led through Turn One as the lights went out for the 30-lap German GP. Back-to-back race lap records on lap four and five, a 1’21.228 on lap five his fastest lap, signaled that Marquez was not interested in a battling victory, the new race lap record helping him to stretch his lead to over half a second. From here there was no looking back as the reigning World Champion steadily built his lead to cross the line 4.5 seconds clear of second place for the 75th victory of his Grand Prix career and his 49th win in the premier class.
The victory is Marquez’s tenth straight win at the Sachsenring, a level of domination no other rider has achieved in the modern era. Today’s victory is Marquez’s seventh visit to the top step of the podium in the premier class at the German track, equalling Valentino Rossi’s record of straight wins at Mugello.
Stefan Bradl was author to a consistent race, lapping steadily in the mid 1’22s as he chased the group battling for the top ten throughout. The home rider took 11th place from Pol Espargaro late in the race and moved into tenth place soon after. This completed a successful weekend for Bradl, who replaced the injured Jorge Lorenzo, with the German and the Repsol Honda Team abele to achieve all of their main targets for the weekend.
Cal Crutchlow made it two Honda RC213V machines on the podium with a well-earned third place.
Marquez now heads into the summer break with 185 World Championship points, 58 ahead of second placed Dovizioso. The win also increases Honda’s lead in the Constructor Championship to 34 points over Ducati.
The MotoGP World Championship now enjoys a brief summer break before racing returns at the Czech GP, August 02 – 04.
“It was a perfect strategy. But I didn’t have a perfect start as I ran a little deep at Turn One. After that my plan was two slow laps to warm the front tyre well and then push, and it’s exactly what I did. Step by step I opened the gap and followed the plan as I needed to. Once the gap was at three seconds I stayed there and saved the tyre and enjoyed riding. It’s a great feeling to win here again and to enter the summer break in this way. Congratulations also to my brother for his win today, it’s always really nice to win together! I want to say thank you to the Repsol Honda Team for their work in this race and the first half of the season.”
”All weekend I was able to really enjoy riding and working with the team. Not many people are able to ride in Repsol Honda colours at home so it was a very special weekend for me and I enjoyed every moment. A big thank you to the team as they were incredibly welcoming and we were able to work extremely well together. Our approach in the race was good, maybe if I had been a little more aggressive in the opening laps I could have stayed with the group in front better and been stronger but still, a top ten was my target. I was able to be consistent and achieve what we set out to do for myself, the team and HRC.”
Sunday, 07 July 2019 18:08 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Second place after a spirited battle at The Cathedral sees Marquez walk away with an even greater championship lead.
Somewhat cooler than predicted temperatures at the TT Circuit Assen, 44°C track temperature, added an extra challenge to the 26-lap Dutch GP. Losing a place off the line, Marc Marquez quickly worked to make up his lost position. A dramatic third lap soon had the reigning MotoGP World Champion back in podium contention.
On lap 11 Marquez pounced into the led again down the back straight but Viñales and Quartararo soon responded, a thrilling three-way breaking out. With his lead in the MotoGP World Championship on his mind, Marquez eased his pace towards the end of the race and settled into a solid second.
Collecting 20 valuable points, Marquez leaves Assen with a total of 160 World Championship points, 44 points clear of second placed Dovizioso. The result also maintains Honda’s lead in the Constructor Championship, now 22 points ahead of Ducati.
Before the start of the race, Kunimitsu Takahashi and Mick Doohan delighted the Dutch crowd as the sound of two-stroke machinery returned to Assen with a demonstration lap aboard the 1959 RC142 and the 1989 NSR500 to celebrate Honda Racing’s 60th Anniversary.
There’s not long to wait for the German GP which runs from July 05 – July 07. The Repsol Honda Team heads directly for Germany as Jorge Lorenzo continues his recovery after falling in FP1.
“An amazing weekend here in Assen overall. I chose the soft tyre and targeted the podium so this is like a victory as we have again increased the advantage in the championship. I saw Viñales was faster than me and I tried to stay with him to avoid a battle with Quartararo at the end. I was behind Viñales for a few laps and then I saw he was faster than me today, congratulations to him on the victory. The most important part is we have extended our lead in the championship at a circuit where we struggle. Thank you Assen, see you next year!”
Monday, 01 July 2019 17:34 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Honda celebrated the 60th anniversary of its participation in motorcycle World Championship racing with a gathering of some of its greatest racing heroes at Assen today.
Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) was joined by former Honda World Champions Mick Doohan and Freddie Spencer, plus Kunimitsu Takahashi, the first Japanese to win a Grand Prix.
Also at the gathering were HRC Director Tetsuhiro Kuwata, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, FIM President Jorge Viegas, VIPs and members of the international media.
The event marked six decades since Honda contested its first world-class event, the Isle of Man Ultra-Lightweight TT for 125cc machines, staged on June 3, 1959.
“No one could have imagined that after 60 years Honda would still be competing and winning all around the world,” declared Kuwata. “Honda is the only company contesting all major motorsport disciplines: from MotoGP to Formula 1, from Motocross to IndyCar, from Dakar to Trials and from World Superbikes to Enduro. Competition is an important part of Honda’s philosophy, and an excellent way to develop new Honda products.”
Marquez took a break from his preparations for Sunday’s Dutch round of the 2019 MotoGP series to share his thoughts about Honda’s racing history.
“Many of the most iconic bikes have been created by Honda,” said the Spaniard, winner of five of the last six MotoGP crowns aboard his RC213V. “I am very proud to have played a part in the history of Honda’s racing success and look forward to achieving even more in the future.”
Marquez races in the same colours that Australian Mick Doohan used when he dominated the premier class during the 1990s aboard his Repsol Honda NSR500. Repsol and Honda are also celebrating the 25th anniversary of their collaboration together in 2019.
“I can still remember my first visit to HRC in late 1988, a few days before I signed to be part of Honda’s 1989 500cc World Championship effort,” said Doohan, who won the 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998 500cc titles aboard NSR machines. “I was immediately impressed with the commitment of all the staff as I toured the facility. Reading the signs with ‘Tomorrow’s Technology Today’ everywhere stood out and sold me on Honda’s philosophy.”
Spencer won Honda’s first premier-class World Championship in 1983 and met company founder Soichiro Honda soon after.
“I won my first 500cc World Championship on September 4th 1983 on a Honda in Imola,” recalled the American star. “Then on September 7th Mr Honda put his hands on my shoulders and said: ‘Thank you’. That fulfilled my dream and gave Mr Honda his.”
Takahashi was part of the legendary Honda team that first stormed the World Championships during the 1960s. He was just 21-years-old when he made history by becoming the first Japanese to win a Grand Prix: the 1961 250cc West German GP. He went on to win a further three GPs with Honda.
“I remember Soichiro Honda and his team determined to make the best machines in the world and that is how Honda Racing’s activity started,” said Takahashi. “I feel strongly that the Honda Racing spirit has been handed over to new generation!”
Both Ezpeleta and Viegas paid tribute the enormous contribution made to motorcycle sports by Honda over the past six decades.
“Over 60 years, Honda have set benchmark after benchmark, becoming the most successful manufacturer in motorcycle Grand Prix racing,” said Ezpeleta. “It makes us very proud to have been part of their story and for them to have been such an integral part of ours.”
The FIM created motorcycling’s World Championships in 1949, so both the federation and Honda have been cornerstones of this sport.
“As the biggest manufacturer in the world, Honda has the responsibility to have a strong presence in competition as they have proved over these six decades and achieved many titles in all disciplines along the way,” said Viegas. “However, it is today in MotoGP that Honda has its biggest battle to prove that their products are the most innovative and are well proven by the time they reach their customers.”
Before the start of Sunday’s Dutch MotoGP round, Takahashi and Doohan will ride a lap of honour aboard two legendary Honda racing motorcycles.
Friday, 28 June 2019 11:21 Published in Industry News