MotoGP: Honda sign new five-year deal with Dorna
Honda has become the latest manufacturer to commit its future to MotoGP until at least the end of the 2026 season.
The Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) has penned a new five-year deal with commercial rights-holder and series-promoter Dorna Sports S.L.
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Honda has enjoyed huge amounts of success in MotoGP and has secured 20 titles since its full-time return to GP racing in 1982. Freddie Spencer (1983/1985), Wayne Gardner (1987) and Eddie Lawson (1989) became champions with Honda in the 80s.
Mick Doohan won five consecutive titles between 1994 and 1998, before Alex Criville rounded out the 90s with his one and only crown. Valentino Rossi clinched back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004, before the late Nicky Hayden brought the top prize back to HRC in 2006.
It would be another five years before Honda reached the top of the racing pyramid once again, with Aussie Casey Stoner securing his second MotoGP title. Then came the era of Marc Marquez. Since 2013 the Spaniard has won six of the eight title available.
“First, I would like to express my respect and gratitude to Carmelo Ezpeleta and everyone at Dorna Sports for their hard work in organizing races during the COVID-19 pandemic," Noriaki Abe, Honda's managing officer of motorcycle operations, said.
"I am very pleased that we have renewed our contract to compete in MotoGP from 2022 to 2026. Honda has been competing in the FIM Grand Prix World Championship since 1959 and won its 800th grand prix last year. Honda believes MotoGP racing is vital to our motorsport activities.
"MotoGP is the pinnacle of motorcycle racing – it allows us to develop various technologies, and through fierce competition, teach our engineers and nurture their skills. With these engineers working on the development of production vehicles, Honda can create better products for its customers. Honda will continue to bring dreams and joy to its customers worldwide through its motorsports activities, including MotoGP.”
Honda will continue to field four RCV213 machines in the 2021 season. Pol Espargaro has joined the factory Repsol Honda outfit and will line-up alongside Marquez, injury permitting. Marquez has not raced since the opening round of the 2020 season at Jerez after breaking his right humerus. Three operations and an infection has kept Marquez off the grid.
Meanwhile, Honda's satellite team, LCR, will field Alex Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami. Alex Marquez replaces Cal Crutchlow after spending his rookie campaign in the Repsol Honda team.
"This important announcement brings great pride to MotoGP because Honda is one of the first names that comes to our mind when we think about motorcycling racing," Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta added. "The Japanese manufacturer has been such an important part of the past, present and future of the FIM MotoGP World Championship and this renewal reinforces, even more, the commitment between both parties.”