MotoGP: Marc Marquez Signs Two-Year Contract with HRC

05/14/2014 @ 8:10 am, by David Emmett28 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Marc Marquez Signs Two Year Contract with HRC repsol honda rc213v dani pedrosa marc marquez 18 635x423

With the contracts of the four riders in Honda’s and Yamaha’s factory teams expiring at the end of 2014, real fireworks were expected when contract negotiations began for the 2015 season and beyond.

But as the season progressed, those fireworks have turned into something of a damp squib, with it looking increasingly likely that the factory line ups will see little or no change for 2015.

The first contract has already been signed. Today, HRC announced that they have reached agreement with Marc Marquez for another two years, meaning that the 2013 world champion will stay with the Repsol Honda team for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

Given Marc Marquez’s perfect start to 2014 – four wins from four pole positions in the first four races – this comes as no surprise at all. Clearly, retaining the services of the reigning world champion and the man leading the championship was Honda’s highest priority.

With Marquez signed, where does that leave the rest of the top four? At the moment, the signs are that the rider line up of the Repsol Honda and Movistar Yamaha teams will remain completely unchanged for 2015.

Valentino Rossi’s results have shown the improvement he had himself demanded, a combination of a better Yamaha M1 and renewed motivation from his gamble of swapping crew chiefs, replacing Jeremy Burgess with Silvano Galbusera.

Rossi has already spoken of his desire to stay on for another two years, and getting a contract extension with the Movistar Yamaha teams looks to be a given. Rossi is fast enough to be competitive, and his selling power is a powerful marketing tool for Yamaha and their sponsors.

With Marquez under contract, Honda’s need for a rider that can win championships is already filled. That means that Dani Pedrosa’s seat looks safe in the Repsol Honda team, the Spaniard having proven that he can pick up the baton whenever Marquez falters, and is capable of pushing for a championship himself.

Pedrosa is 8th on the list of all-time winners in the premier class, and has shown that he can win races and, more importantly, finish ahead of the Yamahas consistently. Team principal Livio Suppo has repeatedly expressed his support for Pedrosa, which makes his spot at Repsol Honda look secure. Marquez and Pedrosa are clearly a winning combination, so why change?

The biggest question mark at the moment is over Jorge Lorenzo. Lorenzo has, of course, expressed his desire to stay with Yamaha, but he is hotly sought after.

Before the 2014 season began, HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto expressed a keen interest in Lorenzo, saying that he could be a strong addition to the Repsol Honda team. Since Lorenzo’s disastrous start to the season, Nakamoto has gone quiet, the balance shifting in favor of sitting rider Pedrosa.

That leaves Ducati. There are strong rumors from several sources that Ducati Corse chief Gigi Dall’Igna is keen to sign Lorenzo in the Ducati factory team, having worked with the Spaniard in the 250cc class with Aprilia. Dall’Igna is rumored to be willing to pay Lorenzo a very large fee to make the switch to Ducati.

Whether Lorenzo will make the jump remains to be seen, however. The Yamaha is a proven entity, and despite the initial trouble the M1 is having with edge grip on the 2014 Bridgestone tires, and with less acceleration and fueling with the reduced 20 liter fuel allowance, Yamaha is still Lorenzo’s best chance of becoming world champion.

The choice for Lorenzo will boil down to ambition over financial rewards, unless Ducati can conjour up some significant improvements over the next few races. Lorenzo’s decision is not likely to come until after the summer break.

Source: HRC

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. Alclab says:

    I have to agree that from a managerial point of view, keeping Pedrosa in Repsol Honda is a good strategy to get points for the team, but I really think that he has shown time and time again that while he is skilled, he always lacks that extra determination and will to be champion, I would like to see a more ambitious rider take the fight to Marquez on same machinery; also I think for Pedrosa a change in teams would be a welcome difference, since he’s been #2 rider in Honda since forever (Suzuki perhaps?), but If he’s content on always being #2 and remain like that all his career then that’s fine… I just feel there are more deserving riders for what is clearly still the best ride available.

  2. David says:

    Lorenzo (and everyone else) is finished as long as MM is around.

    Lorenzo may as well go to Ducati and get the BIG bucks while he still can.

  3. JoeKing says:

    It is not a given that the next 3 championships are decided by this. The difference between MM & JL is <1% & there is little doubt that the Honda is at least that much better and there have been times when they weren't the best combination.

    A new tire, a new Yamaha chassis or any combination of events & MM might not have it as easy as he is making it look. Sadly the foolishness of the engine developement freeze rule will make any change of fortunes be less likely.

    While it is a pleasure to watch Marc perform, for entertainment's sake I hope every weekend's results aren't known on Thursday.

  4. Phil says:

    For as long as MM is at Honda I can’t see anyone else being w/champion.

  5. Rashomon says:

    We seem to forget that accidents can and do happen – if Lorenzo hadn’t messed up his collar bone last year, he had every chance of becoming world champion – MM hasn’t had that run of bad luck yet but racing being what it is, he probably will – nothing is a given.

  6. Frank says:

    @ Rashomon – the same can be said for Dani last year. When Lorenzo went down in Assen my first thought was that it opened the door for Dani to open an advantage in the championship. But then he went down at Sachsenring. Accidents play a major role in deciding the title. Stoner seemed destined to walk away from the field in 2012 and then went down in Indy. Rossi breaking his leg in 2010 another example. Sadly for Lorenzo, I think that he had by far the best season of his career last year.

  7. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    I’m not normally very superstitious but I cringe when people think “well its not in the bag yet for MM, he could get injured.”

    I think,…sit back and enjoy what you are witnessing. This might be the dawning of the greatest rider ever. The guy is 21, going for his second title, obliterating the competition.

    His run for the title this year is completely unchallenged. …did I mention he’s only 21?

    …I wonder if each time MM crosses the finish line he thinks “aliens my @ss.” haha

  8. L2C says:

    “I just feel there are more deserving riders for what is clearly still the best ride available.”

    I’d like to see that list of more deserving riders. Please, inform me of the candidates – other than Jorge Lorenzo – who are at Dani Pedrosa’s level of performance. And right now, even Lorenzo is not.

    Currently there are no riders in the premiere class who have even begun to approach the performance of Jorge Lorenzo, who is the only one that has a remote chance of acquiring Pedrosa’s seat. I could see Aleix Espargaro being first in line for either Bautista or Bradl’s seat, but then Espargaro could also be first in line for Bradley Smith’s seat as well. But those three seats that are up for grabs are where it ends for anybody not currently occupying a position in the top four.

    It is fantasy to suggest that such “more deserving riders” — who are not in the top four — exist that have what it takes to beat Marc Márquez. And as for ambition, every rider on the grid states their intent every weekend. Valentino Rossi has been very careful to take a step by step approach to beating his rivals — and he has challenged every rider directly except Márquez. So, sorry, ambition is not a relevant requirement to land any of the top factory rides.

  9. L2C says:

    “His run for the title this year is completely unchallenged.”

    It seems that way, but the reality is that none of the top challengers have yet figured out a way to beat him this season. Last year, all of the top challengers did beat him. And they beat him consistently. But many important variables changed this year, including Márquez himself.

    The reality is that Márquez’s challengers are working around the clock to discover a way of knocking him off the top spot. Their next challenge will be to knock him off the top spot consistently. These things will happen. The illusion of Márquez being invincible will vanish. And words like “imperious” to describe his performance will thankfully fall into disuse.

    Just keep watching.

  10. chaz michael michaels says:

    I don’t see Pedrosa, Lorenzo, or Rossi beating MM. Those are his challengers. Am I missing somebody? cricket cricket…

    I think MM’s challengers should be working ’round the clock to figure out how to beat Pedrosa consistantly. …might want to baby step this plan along.

    as to figuring out how to knock MM off the top spot consistently (these things will happen). Ya, I agree. These things will happen…but not this year or the next year or the…

  11. L2C says:

    “I don’t see Pedrosa, Lorenzo, or Rossi beating MM.”

    That is merely a function of your imagination based on your perception of current events. Nothing more than that. Grain of salt. Bright lights. Mania.

  12. JoeKing says:

    @L2C

    Want the name of more deserving riders…Rabat & Vinales.

    If Dani isn’t offered to re-sign within 2 months, I think Honda will sign one of the above. 2nd seat on any team is expendable, especially to talent on their assendancy.

    If Yamaha let Rossi go, Honda definately dump DP before they let Vinales sign with Yamaha if he continues to impress. They’ll probably ax Bautista or Bradle to get both Rabat & Vinales.

  13. L2C says:

    “Want the name of more deserving riders…Rabat & Vinales.

    If Dani isn’t offered to re-sign within 2 months, I think Honda will sign one of the above. 2nd seat on any team is expendable, especially to talent on their assendancy.

    If Yamaha let Rossi go, Honda definately dump DP before they let Vinales sign with Yamaha if he continues to impress. They’ll probably ax Bautista or Bradle to get both Rabat & Vinales.”

    Pure fantasy. Honda has two satellite machines that are open. Stefan Bradl’s and Alvaro Bautista’s. If Esteve “Tito” Rabat and Maverick Viñales were both to make the jump to the premiere class next year — BIG IF — there would be two RC213v’s waiting for both of them. Who goes where would depend on who is most likely to win the Moto2 Championship. And that’s if Honda were able to sign them both.

    As for the 2nd seat on any team remark is expendable remark, that only applies to a member of a team who underperforms relative to many factors, not merely coming in second to a teammate. Just like someone has to finish first, someone has to finish second on a team. Teams and riders know this. However, wins and podiums count much, much more than that single stat. Position in championship standings relative to a rider’s primary competition also counts.

    So unless you’re ready to say that the second fastest rider on the grid is expendable because he is the second fastest rider on the grid, and therefore all other riders for all other teams are also expendable, cut the crap. If you go ahead and say so anyway, it’s still crap.

    And suggesting that Rabat and Viñales are more deserving than Pedrosa is also another sign that you need to come back down to earth. You have one Moto3 championship winner and another who has yet to win any championships. Logic and reasoned speculation are completely out the window on this.

  14. Jw says:

    Pedrosa is the best and most consistent number 2 team player in the business right now. Why would honda want to change this? Lorenzo might as well take the money from Ducati and make another 35 million in 2 years, while it is available. Pedrosa influences more sales for Honda than JL ever will. Rossi will ride Yamaha into the sunset. I would hate to see Dovi go who is the only Ducati rider right now you can count on, is Dovi’s contract up end of 14?

  15. DuckDuckBang says:

    full respect to Pedrosa and all, but seriously he never had the full package and never will. great rider, greatest bridesmaid of all time, but he needs to fucking vacate pronto.

    the reality is there is only one person who honda would turf pedrosa at the drop of a hat for, and that’s casey stoner.

    until that dude gets his head & heart straight, and stops wasting his insane level of talent, pedrosa wastes the best seat in the house.

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  17. Xan says:

    “That is merely a function of your imagination based on your perception of current events. Nothing more than that. Grain of salt. Bright lights. Mania.”

    Given the engine freeze and age difference, I think you are just not a fan of MM so YOU see it that way. The only three even remotely competing with him are in the “maintain” phase of their careers. MM is 21 and will only get better. That is not a recipe for anyone beating him this season.

  18. Alclab says:

    @L2C “A list of more deserving riders than Pedrosa” I think as well as you that the rider on top of that list would be A. Esparagró (if he’s not already in talks with Yamaha for Smith’s seat), he has shown time and time again, specially last 3 seasons (2012, 2013 and 2014) that he’s miles ahead of their teammates, which shows just how adaptable and how much he can extract out of any ride. He’s gutsy and has a very strong will to excell, that’s a quality that’s invaluable in a racer. It’s why he’s won 2 times CRT champion and is by far the best “Open” bike. Just look at the difference last year with teammate Randy De Puniet and this year with Colin Edwards, they’re on different planets. He just needs a more competitive bike. Granted if I were Nakamoto-san (head of HRC) Pedrosa is a good option for a consistent #2 rider with points scoring for the team, and keep the real star MM93. I just think (on a personal spectator point of view) Pedrosa has been given way too many years on the best ride available, and it’s time for someone with more grit and willing to take it to MM93 and not just conform right away with being #2.

  19. Alclab says:

    Other than Aleix for Pedrosa’s spot, there are really very few options. Moto2 riders still have some way to go, Lorenzo would appear to be a good choice on paper but I really think he would not work for his riding style which is very smooth, great corner speed, depends a lot of the front end (which is what’s giving him trouble this season coincidentally), whereas the Honda requires to depend a lot more on Marquez’s and Pedrosa’s style (very light on the front end, come in hot, brake late, slide the back wheel and get put of the corner in a flash (point and shoot) as soon as they regain grip. Othe possibility (near impossible) would be of HRC can convince Stoner to come back, but that’s likely not happening.

  20. Alclab says:

    We should really just enjoy the incredible talent of Marquez this season, really, unless there is a crash, there is no stopping him this season, and probably the next one until the competition can catch up. He’s probably the best rider MotoGP has ever seen, complete, incredibly fast, with a unique style, he’s a game changer. And you would think being a rookie last year he would crash or be unreliable, but he’s super consistent and knows when to take it slow and when to give it all and more. He’s the Ayrton Senna of Motorcycling and it’s a privilege to witness him in action.

  21. Dan-O-Saur says:

    So Repsol then?

    LMAO.

    Advertisement much?

    Remind me why we care about corporate racing?

  22. chaz michael michaels says:

    Alclab,

    I agree totally.

    …MM might even be more than the Ayrton Seena of motorcycling. Senna spent much of his career locked into epic battles with Alain Prost. …to which some might argue MM would have been locked in epic battles with Casey Stoner had Stoner not decided to quit.

    …and honestly, isn’t it sad for Stoner. He thought he’d walk away and then get begged to return forever-more and have throngs of people lamenting “he coulda been the greatest of all time” and crap like that. Stoner certainly didn’t see the absolutely mind boggling greatness of MM coming.

  23. L2C says:

    “@L2C “A list of more deserving riders than Pedrosa” I think as well as you that the rider on top of that list would be A. Esparagró (if he’s not already in talks with Yamaha for Smith’s seat), he has shown time and time again, specially last 3 seasons (2012, 2013 and 2014) that he’s miles ahead of their teammates, which shows just how adaptable and how much he can extract out of any ride.”

    He’s shown some good things, yes, but not the level of performance and consistency of someone who would seriously challenge for a factory seat. Especially with the two premiere factories. And right now, Aleix does have a de facto factory/satellite ride in the Yamaha M1 that he rides for Forward Racing. The difference being tires and electronics, but he does receive some level factory support from Yamaha, if I’m not mistaken.

    So far this season, Aleix has crashed just as much as Stefan Bradl, Alvaro Bautista, Bradley Smith and Cal Crutchlow. The difference is that in the standings he is tied with Bradl for 6th position, is two points ahead of Smith in 8th, and is three points ahead of both Andrea Iannone and Pol Espargaro who are tied for 9th position.

    Those riders are Aleix’s primary rivals and I haven’t seen anything from him this season that would suggest that he is even a serious competitor for a factory seat at Ducati, Andrea Dovizioso being 15 points ahead in the standings. Things may change, but Aleix is going to have to win the podium war before he looks to acquire a factory ride.

    Cal Crutchlow, for all his wily faults, scored 6 podiums for Tech 3 Yamaha while he was with the team. His demand for a factory ride was well-justified.

    Aleix Espargaro is not there yet because there is the problem of Stefan Bradl who consistently challenges for podium positions, has won one, but usually loses out to the other premiere factory guys. And so Bradl has his work cut out for him too.

    But let’s not forget about Suzuki. Aleix may be in line for one of those seats. But it’s not like Aleix is not getting any respect for his achievements. If he finishes first among the open riders, he gets to be featured in parc ferme after the races. And this happens even if he loses to the factories/satellites/Ducati.

    In Jerez, Aleix lost Jorge Lorenzo in 4th, Dovizioso in 5th, and Bautista in 6th. Guess who got parc ferme props? Aleix for coming in 7th.

  24. L2C says:

    “I just think (on a personal spectator point of view) Pedrosa has been given way too many years on the best ride available, and it’s time for someone with more grit and willing to take it to MM93 and not just conform right away with being #2.”

    Frankly, I’m as critical of Pedrosa’s performance as anybody who takes an objective view of his performance. What I don’t do subtract from his achievements because I have not yet seen what I want to see. Yes, I’m am a fan of Dani Pedrosa. Yes, I long to see him in the title of the premiere class. However, this does not blind me to his shortcomings, or the shortcomings of his team. I look at it for what it is while still managing not to give up on him because in actual fact, he has earned the privilege to ride for Honda year after year after year. There is no disputing this fact.

    As far as being a rider for HRC, Pedrosa is everyman. He is the underdog. His stats show that he is anything but a loser, but he has no way of escaping the specter of not having won the premiere class title except by winning it. And so until he does, many MotoGP racing fans will continue to refer to him as a loser at the expense of everything else he has achieved, including the three titles that he won in the lower classes. The difference here is that I’m not one of those fans.

  25. L2C says:

    “Given the engine freeze and age difference, I think you are just not a fan of MM so YOU see it that way. The only three even remotely competing with him are in the “maintain” phase of their careers. MM is 21 and will only get better. That is not a recipe for anyone beating him this season.”

    Even if Lorenzo, Pedrosa, and Rossi were “in the maintain phase of their careers,” they wouldn’t be riding for YFR or HRC. Their situations would be more similar to that of Colin Edwards. This, however, is not the reality.

    Thanks to Márquez, Pedrosa and Rossi are riding better and faster than at any point earlier in their careers. They haven’t managed to beat Márquez this season, but the cumulative performance of each rider in testing, qualifying, and the races demonstrate that they are not sitting idly, watching sunsets, and hanging on because racing is what they love and they don’t yet know how to let go. No — Pedrosa and Rossi are both adapting to the current challenges just as they both have managed to do extraordinarily well in the past. This year is no exception.

    The difference here is Jorge Lorenzo. He is involved in a major struggle with himself, and the changing conditions, primarily because he doesn’t want to adapt. He is loathe to adapt. He wants things to remain the same and in his favor, and because of this, he has suffered in a very spectacular way.

    *****
    *****

    It’s amazing to me that some of you take such a static point of view for something that is so obviously continually in flux.

  26. Alclab says:

    @L2C I agree with you on Pedrosa: He’s by no means a bad rider, to the contrary! He’s a constant podium contender and one that gets in there extremely often (4 out of 4 thus far!) and he’s proven he can ride that Honda pretty well managing the rear slide incredibly! And it’s a lot thanks to him and his input that the RCV213V is as good as it is! It’s just that Marquez is so damn talented! otherwise he would easily be leading the Championship.

    Anyway, I really hope that he gets to put Marquez into more hotspots this season! Maybe LeMans where he’s done well in the past…

    I just wanna say that I really enjoy these discussions, and Asphaltandrubber.com It’s great to have ideas thrown around by people who love the sport and motorcycling in general so much and who know what they’re talking about! Thanks L2C!

  27. Alclab says:

    @ chaz michael michaels :

    Agreed! Stoner thought he would leave Honda on such a tight spot, yet no one could have foreseen what an extraordinary talent Marquez is. He’s a joy to watch, but let’s just hope the competition ups the ante, as Rossi did in Qatar 2014 o Lorenzo in 2013, then is when we truly see Marquez (and rivals) shine!

  28. Jw says:

    @ L2C

    Thanks for keeping it real.