Tetsuhiro Kuwata and Alberto Puig are, respectively, HRC director and Honda team manager in MotoGP, both tasked with managing a situation that sees Marquez and Lorenzo under the same roof. The dream team could turn into a nightmare if the two champions are unable to work together, champions who, by very definition, need to be selfish and self-centred.
“It's true, we need to manage them but I have no doubt we'll be able to do just that - ensures the HRC boss - Firstly, we're talking about two professionals and then Honda likes a challenge. The road ahead will be tough but it will make us stronger”.
Kuwata also underlines the fact that Lorenzo's arrival will not change the Honda philosophy.
“We don't need to change our approach, because over the last years we've always had two riders with different needs and we've always worked to satisfy the needs of both - he explains - Our job is to provide them with a good bike, then if Jorge needs something different we'll give it to him, but we won't change our approach”.
The Japanese manager is keeping quiet about modifications made to the 2019 RC213V.
“I can only say that the bike has changed significantly with respect to 2018, but you won't see it until Qatar” he smiles.
Puig is in agreement with Kuwata, appearing relaxed on the subject of team management.
“The Honda team has always had two competitive riders because its goal is to win. Remember that we're not talking about two kids, but two adult riders who know exactly what they want. They will simply fight to achieve their goals, and that is all we ask them to do”.
Also because worrying about Lorenzo's arrival, having chosen to hire him, would make little sense .
“It wasn't my decision but a company decision - continues the Spanish manager - In sport, you always have to select your best option and that was Jorge in that moment. Personal opinions count for little, the important thing is to be professional. My hope this season is that there are no more injuries, we all know what Marquez is capable of and having him in the garage will serve as further stimulation for Lorenzo. Both want the maximum”.
The only problem seems to be winter development, with Marquez not yet in shape and Lorenzo benched due to injury. Honda is chasing its tail.
“It will be a difficult season start, but better that it happens now that in a few months' time- confirms Puig - Stefan Bradl will be at Sepang in place of Jorge and we'll see how Marc is. Anyway, Honda will continue to work to improve the bike even in this situation".