Marquez: "Time will tell" if Honda MotoGP changes are enough

Marc Marquez feels only “time will tell” if the changes Honda is making to its MotoGP structure will pay off, as the Japanese manufacturer tries to recover from its current slump.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Going through its worst-ever phase in grand prix racing, Honda has had to resort to changes in its technical line-up in a bid to keep hold of star rider Marquez and challenge for the title for the first time since 2019.

Ahead of this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, it emerged that long-time technical chief Shinichi Kokubu has been moved aside as part of the reshuffle, with his place at HRC set to be taken over by current head of development Shin Sato from October 1.

It appears unlikely Sato’s promotion will be significant in Marquez’s decision regarding 2024 as the Spaniard had requested certain external appointments to be made for him to keep faith in the project.

The six-time world champion has been debating whether to honour the final year of his contract with Honda or move to Gresini on a year-old Ducati.

Speaking about the restructure, Marquez said it was necessary for Honda to make changes in the organisation given its current form, but feels it is too early to say they will deliver the desired results.

“The changes at Honda show that there is a reaction,” said the six-time MotoGP champion. “When a project is in this situation there have to be changes. 

“When the numbers don't work out in a company, there have to be changes at the top. I think that the structure that exists is good, it is very humane and hard-working. But it is true that the path taken lately was not good.

"I was away for a long time since 2020 [due to injury], and when I returned I realised that the direction the bike had taken was different. 

“It's not that this bike is worse than the others, because we are going faster than in 2020 and 2019, but it is that the others have improved more. 

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“So good for Honda for reacting, implementing changes and trying to reach the level that Ducati and KTM are setting.

“Time will tell if the changes are enough. It doesn't mean changing people and things going well from one day to the next.”

Marquez was classified seventh in Saturday’s sprint at Motegi, but spent much of the race running in fifth until both he and VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi ran wide at Turn 11 while battling for position, allowing Johann Zarco (Pramac) through.

Bezzecchi later passed Marquez for sixth on the penultimate lap.

"I was super competitive in the first four laps, then I started to feel some drop on the tyre and just I started to spin [the rear tyre], the normal spin we have had all weekend," explained the six-time champion.

"Then we started losing traction and the risk on the braking was too much, so I decided to take a step back and just finish the sprint. The first four laps the risk was massive, like a qualifying practice for me. For four laps, that’s ok, but 12 laps, impossible."

Asked if he expected better performance in Sunday's main race, Marquez added: "If you see the tendency of the race, beginning strong and getting slower and slower, tomorrow will be the same."

Read Also:
Previous article MotoGP Japanese GP: Martin cuts Bagnaia's points lead with sprint win
Next article “Super-slow” Quartararo despondent after woeful Yamaha sprint