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MotoGP German GP

A year on from Marquez’s Germany MotoGP meltdown, has Honda improved?

Joan Mir’s Honda frustrations echo those of Marc Marquez’s one year ago in Germany, when his time with the team began its end

Joan Mir, Repsol Honda Team

Joan Mir, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Joan Mir branded Friday at the 2024 MotoGP German Grand Prix as the “most difficult day all year” in terms of bike performance on the Honda.

The 2020 world champion brought his season tally of crashes up to 10 in second practice at the Sachsenring on Friday afternoon, with his frustration at the bike visible as he shook his fists in anger at the stricken RC213V in the Turn 1 gravel.

A decade ago, Honda’s arrival in Germany signalled a guaranteed victory in the hands of Marc Marquez. Lately, it’s exposed the worst of the RC213V.

Twelve months ago, crashing five times in one weekend before withdrawing from the grand prix, the German GP represented the nadir of Honda’s and Marc Marquez’s 2023 season. Ultimately, it marked the beginning of the end of their time together.

“Honestly, today was in terms of performance the most difficult day in all year,” said Mir, who was last at the end of second practice. “We made a base [set-up] that we thought was probably working here, not the base of Assen, a different one.

“So, we take a bit of risk and we got a bit lost in the middle. With the bike I was more or less able to be a little bit faster today. I had a crash the moment that I wanted to do something more.

“Then that bike was out because it was missing some pieces. And then I went with the new set-up bike and I was not able to even ride with that one.

“So, I didn't make any lap time at all. For me it makes sense to risk when you risk for something but when you are risking just to stay on the bike, we don't have to. This is how we will make the progress, not [by] making stupid things.

“So, I decided to come early into the box, give the information and for tomorrow hope that I will be able to ride in a better way and be more competitive. But today wasn't rideable.”

 

Mir’s emotional response echoed Marquez’s a year ago, when a wild moment going through Turn 11 resulted in the eight-time world champion showing his Honda a middle finger.

Given how slow he was going, Mir’s anger stemmed from the fact that he still crashed the bike.

“The thing that piss me off a lot... I am struggling there, I say this to the engineers and everything,” he said.

“We are losing 1-1.5s per lap in terms of pace and then you crash. How is that possible?

“And one crash and then another one and well I crash there but I had a lot of movement today and a lot of movement that I could end up on the ground [as a result of].

“So, this is... I was very angry, I'm still very angry with the situation. But let's see if tomorrow they can give me a package that I am able to enjoy a bit.”

The fastest lap time on Friday at the Sachsenring – a 1m19.622s set by Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales – was 0.649s quicker than the Friday best from 2023. The fastest Honda time on Friday in 2024 was a 1m20.668s from LCR’s Johann Zarco – 2.237s quicker than the best Honda time of 2023 on Friday in Germany.

That may look like a big gain on paper, but it still left Zarco 1.046s off the best pace down in 16th. Mir was 2.225s adrift in last with a 1m21.847s that was only 0.294s faster than the best 2023 Honda lap on Friday in Germany.

Despite this, Mir still seems convinced in pushing ahead with re-signing with Honda for another two years.

“No, no,” he said if he was now reconsidering his future again. “One day doesn't change the mentality. But we will work for tomorrow and we will try to be in a position we were in first part of the season in other races. Just today I don't know what happened honestly.”

Additional reporting by German Garcia Casanova

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team crash

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team crash

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

 

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