Espargaro: "Speed is there" despite "painful" Honda MotoGP points haul
Pol Espargaro says the fact he is only 10th in the 2022 championship after the first three races is “painful” as “the speed is there” with the new Honda.This has helped Espargaro in particular to be more competitive on the bike, with the Spaniard fighting for victory in the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix before finishing third.
Helmut Marko says Honda had been looking to exit Formula 1 before they joined up with Red Bull – so he gave them a World Championship “guarantee”.
After six years out of the sport, Honda returned in 2015 as engine supplier to McLaren, re-forming an association that had yielded four consecutive Constructors’ titles from 1988-91.
But the attempt to turn back the clock proved disastrous as, even with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button driving the cars, the Briton handing over to Stoffel Vandoorne for 2017, the partnership endured three poor years with not a single podium finish.
At that point, according to Marko, Honda were ready to call time on their ill-fated return. However, they were persuaded to stay on with Toro Rosso in 2018 and when that project showed promising signs, Red Bull themselves joined the party from 2019.
Marko wishes former driver Ricciardo ‘success, but…’
Helmut Marko wants to see Daniel Ricciardo back on the podium, but only on the third step "behind" both Red Bull drivers.Racing at home for the first time since 2019, Ricciardo is dreaming of a points-scoring finish at this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.
The rest, of course, is history and although Honda had announced in the autumn of 2020 that the following season would be their last, they bowed out in a blaze of glory thanks to Max Verstappen’s World Championship triumph. © Provided by PlanetF1 A shot of the Red Bull rear wing with the Honda name. Abu Dhabi 2021
The Japanese manufacturer have not yet severed ties completely, of course, for they continue to offer support to the Red Bull Powertrains operation that officially powers Red Bull and AlphaTauri this year.
Red Bull advisor Marko has revealed he had to pull out all the stops, however, to stop Honda from walking away after that embarrassing spell with McLaren – and he turned out to be as good as his word.
“When it was announced McLaren wanted to get rid of Honda, I immediately used my contacts,” said Marko during an interview with Formule 1 magazine.
MotoGP Americas GP: Martin snatches COTA pole as Quartararo crashes and Marquez struggles
Jorge Martin snatched pole from Jack Miller by 0.003 seconds for the MotoGP Americas Grand Prix, as world champion Fabio Quartararo crashed and Marc Marquez could only managed ninth.After the opening flurry of laps, it was the Italian manufacturer who annexed the provisional front row of the grid.
“It was not easy to convince Honda to continue in Formula 1, they wanted to get out even then.
“I said to the Honda president ‘we guarantee you the title’.”
In terms of those contacts to which Marko referred, he called upon the AVL powertrains company in his native Austria.
“Do you know AVL? That’s a company with 12,000 employees, 80% of them engineers,” said Marko, whose 79th birthday is three days after the forthcoming Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
“The head office is in Graz, they develop engines and test benches. They have supplied Honda with over fifty million euros’ worth of equipment.
“So then you get the information that Honda has a high-tech factory in Sakura that is second to none – everyone walks around in white coats and the estate is 53 hectares.
“Then it is a question of hitting the right strings – and thank goodness it did.”
Super GT Okayama: Toyota locks out front row for season opener .
Toyota locked out the front row of the grid for the opening round of the 2022 Super GT season at Okayama, with Kazuya Oshima claiming pole position in the Rookie Racing GR Supra.In a qualifying session dominated by Toyota, with four of the GR Supras progressing to the second leg of qualifying, Tadasuke Makino provided the strongest challenge in the Kunimitsu Honda but ultimately had to settle for third on the grid.