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August 9th, 2021, 06:59 AM   #1
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The curse of the second Repsol Honda...

Re-watching the Styrian GP last night, I noticed how far back Pol Espargaro was so thought I'd start the discussion on here.

Is the 2nd seat cursed? It was a career ender for 2 world champions and while Ale Marquez was a rookie, Pol was hired and expected to shine based on the fact he had a more aggressive riding style that in theory should suit the RC213. Again, like Lorenzo, he had a promising pre season and has faded into the outskirts of the top 10-15 in the season.

It's not for the want of trying. If you watch him, he is ringing that things neck! However, Marque came back from a year off, and is instantly making him look slow. Hell even Alex is doing better on the LCR this season.

What is it going to take for Honda to get both factory bikes to the front again? People blame development direction going in Marquez direction which I won't discount, but I do believe there is some Ducati 2007-2009esque attitude going on within HRC in that Marquez was/is still winning on it.

I personally was hugely excited when Lorenzo was signed. I believed that had he been able to develop the bike to be more rider friendly then the bike, and the Repsol team would have been as dominant as McLaren-Honda in the late 80's with a rider rivalry to match. Alas it was a hill that Lorenzo admitted he didn't want to climb after nearly breaking his neck at Assen.

It seems to me that Honda should have kept Alex, or at least recruit a rider from Moto2. Ducati used to have a lot more success with riders who weren't spoiled by a Yamaha or similar.
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Last edited by #22; August 9th, 2021 at 07:20 AM.
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August 9th, 2021, 07:14 AM   #2
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Absolutely agree that Alex Marquez should have been kept on. He made real progress last year on it...even making podiums. I don't know what deal was done behind closed doors that lost him his Repsol seat before the season had even started...I'm sure he'd have done better than Espargaro.

Espargaro seems to be making no progress at all on it. I know he was a Moto2 champ and all but is he a touch overrated?
He didn't do much on the Tech3 M1...when Zarco got on that bike he was instantly fast.
And he was outperformed by Binder and Olivera on the KTM....just not sure why he's seen as a "top rider".

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August 9th, 2021, 08:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by #22 View Post
Re-watching the Styrian GP last night, I noticed how far back Pol Espargaro was so thought I'd start the discussion on here.

Is the 2nd seat cursed? It was a career ender for 2 world champions and while Ale Marquez was a rookie, Pol was hired and expected to shine based on the fact he had a more aggressive riding style that in theory should suit the RC213. Again, like Lorenzo, he had a promising pre season and has faded into the outskirts of the top 10-15 in the season.

It's not for the want of trying. If you watch him, he is ringing that things neck! However, Marque came back from a year off, and is instantly making him look slow. Hell even Alex is doing better on the LCR this season.

What is it going to take for Honda to get both factory bikes to the front again? People blame development direction going in Marquez direction which I won't discount, but I do believe there is some Ducati 2007-2009esque attitude going on within HRC in that Marquez was/is still winning on it.

I personally was hugely excited when Lorenzo was signed. I believed that had he been able to develop the bike to be more rider friendly then the bike, and the Repsol team would have been as dominant as McLaren-Honda in the late 80's with a rider rivalry to match. Alas it was a hill that Lorenzo admitted he didn't want to climb after nearly breaking his neck at Assen.

It seems to me that Honda should have kept Alex, or at least recruit a rider from Moto2. Ducati used to have a lot more success with riders who weren't spoiled by a Yamaha or similar.
Refresh my memory Mate. When's the last time, in the four-stroke era, that you recall HRC having both riders consistently at the pointy end? Barros never had spectacular results. Nicky had some great rides but barely managed the 2006 championship. Back when When Dani came around he got in some licks, and we all attributed his not getting better results to his diminutive stature. In hindsight, the issue was I think more the bike itself than was supposed. In 2009 when there were three factory riders, Dovi had excellent results on weekends when Dani was in hospital, which generated rumors that HRC were dialing back his HP to keep him from taking points away from the star riders. I wouldn't put it past them, especially with Pugh's wheeling and dealing. By the time Stoner came aboard - the HRC design was heavily in flux - but Stoner had a supernatural capacity to ride around the various eccentricities of the HRC bike.
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August 9th, 2021, 09:02 AM   #4
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Theres a difference between a 2nd rider not being in the pointy end and not even making the top 10 when the other rider is winning races and championships, don't you agree?

Hayden in his rookie season was 5th, with Rossi 1st.

From then on the 2nd Repsol finished in 8th, 5th, 5th in 2006 (Dani, another rookie). Dovi in 09-11 finished 6th, 5th and 3rd. All podiumed at the least, or won races.

Every #2 Repsol Honda rider has been competitive in the 4 stroke era, i.e. scoring podiums and some wins. Since the end of 2018, the 2nd Honda has scored 2, TWO podiums. That's less podiums in 2.5 seasons than the #2 rider used to get in a single season. And it's not like they are running consistently top 5. Apart from Alex' improved form in 2 races last year, it hasn't even been close to the top 10 with a multiple MotoGP world champion, and 2 Moto2 world champions on it.

Their 2018 onwards form is nothing even close to previous years.
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August 9th, 2021, 09:12 AM   #5
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But if you look at other teams, similar strange disparities between teammates do exist as well over the last 2+yrs. The tyres have also changed and may be accentuating the problem.
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August 9th, 2021, 10:00 AM   #6
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Curse seems to be for both bikes now, we will have to wait and see.

The bike was clearly only drivable by Marc, not even he can do it now so lets see if they finally make an easier one to ride.

When would be the question though, they might wait out one more year to see if its Marcs problem and not the bikes, very rough year ahead for Marc if this is the case and he can't make it back to his old self on it.

Last edited by 320Dave; August 9th, 2021 at 10:10 AM.
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August 9th, 2021, 10:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by #22 View Post
Theres a difference between a 2nd rider not being in the pointy end and not even making the top 10 when the other rider is winning races and championships, don't you agree?

Hayden in his rookie season was 5th, with Rossi 1st.

From then on the 2nd Repsol finished in 8th, 5th, 5th in 2006 (Dani, another rookie). Dovi in 09-11 finished 6th, 5th and 3rd. All podiumed at the least, or won races.

Every #2 Repsol Honda rider has been competitive in the 4 stroke era, i.e. scoring podiums and some wins. Since the end of 2018, the 2nd Honda has scored 2, TWO podiums. That's less podiums in 2.5 seasons than the #2 rider used to get in a single season. And it's not like they are running consistently top 5. Apart from Alex' improved form in 2 races last year, it hasn't even been close to the top 10 with a multiple MotoGP world champion, and 2 Moto2 world champions on it.

Their 2018 onwards form is nothing even close to previous years.
It must be so tedious to correct Keshav’s lack of knowledge in every single post
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August 9th, 2021, 10:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misfit View Post
But if you look at other teams, similar strange disparities between teammates do exist as well over the last 2+yrs. The tyres have also changed and may be accentuating the problem.
But how many of them have had 4 different riders on the bike since 2018?

I'm making assumptions here but assume you are referring to for example:

Vinales/Rossi: Rossi has been on a downward slope for a number of years. It;s been proven it's him and not the bike

Dovi/Petrucci: Even Petrucci won 2 races in his stint, and he was hired as a #2

Can't compare Petronas, LCR as the team mates are on different bikes.

I'm open to correction but I don't recall such a disparity between a two factory bikes since the Stoner/Ducati days.

Learning a new bike and tyre in Pol's case may be the issue, I don't know. It's why I was discussing it here. As I say though, my point is that bike has had 4 different riders since the start of 2018 and save for Alex' 2 podiums on the trot last yr, that bike has not been in the top 10 since then.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 320Dave View Post
Curse seems to be for both bikes now, we will have to wait and see.

The bike was clearly only drivable by Marc, not even he can do it now so lets see if they finally make an easier one to ride.

When would be the question though, they might wait out one more year to see if its Marcs problem and not the bikes, very rough year ahead for Marc if this is the case and he can't make it back to his old self on it.
Totally. I think the bike is a bit of a dog that Marquez' talent has been masking. The problem is at the moment he can't ride around them.
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Last edited by #22; August 9th, 2021 at 10:39 AM.
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August 9th, 2021, 11:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by #22 View Post
Theres a difference between a 2nd rider not being in the pointy end and not even making the top 10 when the other rider is winning races and championships, don't you agree?

Hayden in his rookie season was 5th, with Rossi 1st.

From then on the 2nd Repsol finished in 8th, 5th, 5th in 2006 (Dani, another rookie). Dovi in 09-11 finished 6th, 5th and 3rd. All podiumed at the least, or won races.

Every #2 Repsol Honda rider has been competitive in the 4 stroke era, i.e. scoring podiums and some wins. Since the end of 2018, the 2nd Honda has scored 2, TWO podiums. That's less podiums in 2.5 seasons than the #2 rider used to get in a single season. And it's not like they are running consistently top 5. Apart from Alex' improved form in 2 races last year, it hasn't even been close to the top 10 with a multiple MotoGP world champion, and 2 Moto2 world champions on it.

Their 2018 onwards form is nothing even close to previous years.
I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said. If there’s any real difference in our posts it comes down to what we focus on in terms of what signifies “success”. Given the perception over the years of HRC as this all conquering conglomerate juggernaut that makes the very best bikes, I’ve always taken keen notice of the relative disparity in results between the main and secondary riders.

While, of course every manufacturer’s results are contingent on getting the best possible rider, it really seems that Honda, once they link up with an “alien” like the young Rossi, or Stoner or Marquez, they get complacent about making improvements to make the bike more compatible for the support riders. In the 2-stroke era, it wasn’t as apparent, I think, because 2-stroke technology had pretty much reached it’s limits. The big three Japanese bike makers were I think on a much more level playing field. The development of 4-stroke bikes to equal and then better the performance of the 2-strokes has been a bit all-over-the-place with stupid digressions like the 800 era. The Japanese being as pragmatic as they’ve are, would I think have greater flexibility re: making the other bikes more suitable to secondary riders, if the change to 4-stroke technology hadn’t made everything exponentially more expensive.
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August 9th, 2021, 11:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
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But how many of them have had 4 different riders on the bike since 2018?

I'm making assumptions here but assume you are referring to for example:

Vinales/Rossi: Rossi has been on a downward slope for a number of years. It;s been proven it's him and not the bike

Dovi/Petrucci: Even Petrucci won 2 races in his stint, and he was hired as a #2

Can't compare Petronas, LCR as the team mates are on different bikes.

I'm open to correction but I don't recall such a disparity between a two factory bikes since the Stoner/Ducati days.

Learning a new bike and tyre in Pol's case may be the issue, I don't know. It's why I was discussing it here. As I say though, my point is that bike has had 4 different riders since the start of 2018 and save for Alex' 2 podiums on the trot last yr, that bike has not been in the top 10 since then.




Totally. I think the bike is a bit of a dog that Marquez' talent has been masking. The problem is at the moment he can't ride around them.


Precisely.
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