Sixteen days until dawn and there’s still no white smoke from the Honda-HRC bunker announcing the arrival of the new “pope”. The rider who’s going to replace Marc Marquez still hasn't emerged from the Honda-HRC bunker. We know there are no heavyweights on the market, and the void left by “Magic” is impossible to fill.
Every hypothesis of a possible replacement – with the exception of Di Giannantonio, who has no choice but to wait – was denied either by those directly involved, as in the case of Pol Espargarò, or by Alberto Puig himself. Even if it’s hard to believe him, like when it comes to Iker Lecuona who was left hanging until he was confirmed in the Superbike team about ten days ago, with Rinaldi who was ready to replace him, and not to mention Aldeguer or other names brought up since Marquez’s announcement.
But who’s actually going to HRC? With their current offer, and a decent remuneration, and an annual contract: nobody, except Fabio, who has no bike, obviously.
For Fabio, the alternative is a return to the Moto2 or landing in the Superbike. He has an offer from Puccetti, a satellite team, but with an official Kawasaki. He rightly still feels like a MotoGP rider.
Let’s face it, it's not just Honda or Alberto Puig who are making a bad impression, but the entire MotoGP when it comes to – let’s call it “cheerfully” – handling contracts. At this point, either Carmelo Ezpeleta has to directly intervene, as he usually does – hoping that he doesn’t miss the mark, as was the case with the third KTM team – or Puig has to modify the offer and offer a two-year contract. But can he do it, or is his position sub judice?
In this case, Luca Marini could accept. Why? Good question, and there are multiple answers.
The simplest is a better salary than what Luca receives from the “family” team. Can it suffice? Yes, if accompanied, in fact, by a nice two-year contract that would allow Marini, who is a very intelligent guy and driver, to “build” the RC213-V for himself.
The next question was: but would a rider like Luca Marini be useful to Honda? For Luca Boscoscuro, if you read the interview he gave us yesterday, it’s a clear “no”, but what the HRC needs actually is a rider who believes and trusts in the method rather than in sensations and, from this point of view, we think Marini could be the right guy.
After all, Honda doesn’t need a super talent right now: with Marquez senior (but also with Mir, Bradl, Nakagami, Lecuona), they’re positioned in the back or in the gravel.
To get out of the situation, they need a new group of engineers, a working method, and a rider who’s not discouraged and faces the situation, one step at a time, with courage and determination. Luca has faced his entire career with these qualities, and only recently has he no longer been asked what his brother does.
Furthermore, when this was the only interest he aroused, he always faced the situation with incredible calmness. Being the “brother of” never discouraged him. If the HRC is looking for a determined rider, who doesn’t think he’s an underestimated phenomenon, who doesn’t place blame on others, and who has a fair amount of experience and an unshakable faith in himself … well, there aren’t any better riders out there than Luca Marini, in this sense.
Naturally, such a choice would only move the vacant seat from Honda to the VR46 team, but a free Ducati, these days, is like a pot full of gold at the end of a rainbow. And, yesterday evening, during our LIVE, Carlo Pernat let it slip that they might be interested in his Arbolino.