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MotoGP, Puig: "Honda isn't forcing anyone to stay. Marquez? He could win the title."

HRC Team Manager responds to Mir: "Our riders came of their own free will, and when you decide to do something, you face the consequences. We're not talking to others. Let's see how the situation develops."

MotoGP: Puig:

Joan Mir didn't mince words at the end of the Catalunya GP, calling the race "frustrating" and "a step backward." Despite having completed a successful private test at the Mugello track only a few days earlier, Honda's RC213Vs also struggled at the Montmeló circuit, where the Japanese constructor's four riders held positions from 14th to 17th. Finishing the Grand Prix immediately behind Pedro Acosta, who returned to the track after a fall and more than 30" behind the winner, was Francesco Bagnaia.

Performances that certainly didn't live up to Honda's expectations and prestige and that are making the Mallorcan's willingness to continue with the Repsol team next year falter. HRC Team Manager Alberto Puig gave his opinion on the riders market issue in an interview with DAZN Spain.

"Marini has a two-year contract, so he's blocked. We'll see about Nakagami. Let's say that he's basically a project decided by the Japanese, while we signed a two-year contract last year with Joan, which expires this year, and we have to see how he's doing,"  the team manager explained. "I know that, from what he said, he doesn't really know what to do. Let's wait and see how the situation develops because, in the end, there are several riders in the paddock who might have options, so we'll have to see."

Despite the 26-year-old's doubts, and his harsh remarks lately, the Tokyo-based constructor doesn't seem intent on looking to replace its rider at the moment.

"We're not talking to anyone. We still think Joan is a very strong rider. He's a two-time world champion," Puig said. "I've always thought judging a rider when the bike isn't competitive a mistake. When it's not one-hundred percent like ours is now, or the Yamaha. I mean, even Quartararo is a great rider, and he's not doing anything. Judging a rider under these conditions can be wrong, and it's not quite right, so let's see if we can improve the bike a bit and see Joan's true potential, which of course isn't what we're seeing."

Then going into Mir's claims at Le Mans that "no one leaves Honda better than they arrived," Puig added, "That could be, but they also arrived of their own free will and when you decide to do something, you know what it is and you take the consequences. Honda has never forced anyone to come or to leave. Those who want to leave leave, as we have already seen, and those who want to come come come."

Impossible at this point not to think of the precedent of Marc Marquez, who decided to leave Honda, after 11 years together in MotoGP, to seek better luck riding a Ducati.

"Marc left because he felt he needed a more competitive bike, and it is clear that he did what he had to do," the team manager commented, " He is 39 points off the lead, and he has crashed in three races, so he is a rider with a clear chance of winning the World Championship. I don't know who thought he wouldn't, because it was almost a foregone conclusion that he would at least have a chance to fight for the win. Then it is true that winning is very complicated, but it was obvious that he would be in the fight for the title."

Automatic Translation by DeepL

Translated by Leila Myftija

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