The Mysterious Crisis at Honda: Marquez Meets with Top Executive, Yet Frustration Mounts
Something strange is happening at Honda. The company that has dominated the MotoGP championship for so long seems to be in a state of crisis. And no one knows quite what’s going on.
Last Sunday, Marc Marquez met with Shinji Aoyama – the second-highest ranking executive at Honda Motor Company – to discuss the situation and express his frustration at the lack of reaction from the company. It was an unusual meeting, to say the least.
No one knows exactly what was discussed during those twenty-five minutes in Honda’s motorhome. But we do know that it involved Koji Watanabe, president of Honda Racing Corporation; Tetsuhiro Kuwata, HRC director (for five minutes); and Jimmy Martinez, Marquez’s manager.
A Disastrous Race for Honda
The meeting took place just before the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello – a race that turned out to be disastrous for both Marquez and Honda. In fact, it was yet another disaster in a season full of them.
On Friday, Joan Mir crashed out and had to withdraw from Mugello due to injury; he won’t make it back until after summer break. Then on Saturday Alex Rins shattered his right leg during practice; he too will be out indefinitely.
Marquez Can’t Catch a Break
Things were looking grim for Marquez as well. He had asked Honda for some improvements before the race, but they didn’t arrive in time.
Then during a practice sprint his bike developed a problem that the engineers couldn’t solve. He lost several positions and was forced to fight back from behind.
In the end, it all proved too much. On lap seven of the race he crashed out while fighting for a podium place with Luca Marini – continuing his streak of non-finishes this season.
The Wall Cracks
Marquez is known for being able to hide his emotions when things aren’t going well. But after crashing at Mugello, he decided to lock himself inside Honda’s truck before returning to the garage.
“Sometimes you have to breathe to calm down,” he told reporters later.
“It’s clear that if you don’t bring new things, you can’t test them on the track.”
Marquez’s frustration is palpable; something isn’t right at Honda and no one seems willing or able to fix it.