At LCR-Honda, neither Alex Márquez nor Taka Nakagami live up to expectations. Will they be replaced by Jack Miller and Ai Ogura in 2023? Team manager Lucio Cecchinello comments.
Lucio Cecchinello’s LCR Honda team was supposed to be the junior team for Honda Racing Corporation (HRC), but from 2015 to the end of the 2020 season, veteran Cal Crutchlow was already there and took three MotoGP victories and a total of 12 podiums in MotoGP. VM. In 2015, LCR along with Crutchlow also had rookie Jack Miller on the starting schedule, who after his second place in the world championship as Moto3 runner-up was promoted directly to the MotoGP class by Honda – without a detour to Moto2.
And as 27-year-old Jack Miller is currently in a difficult position in the factory team at Ducati because Jorge Martin and world championship leader Enea Bastianini are fighting for his place at Lenovo-Ducati, his manager Aki Ajo has long been looking for another MotoGP opportunity for 2023 Although Miller recently admitted that he would also accept a return to Pramac if necessary.
But it has now been leaked in Portimão that HRC and LCR-Honda have also been in touch with Jack Miller in their quest for better drivers by 2023. The fact that 30-year-old Takaaki Nakagami is still without a podium in his fifth MotoGP race season and is only number 16 in the World Cup table, arouses concern at HRC and LCR.
Alex Márquez (WM-20.) Has not yet lived up to expectations in the “premier class”, he competes in the third season. LCR-Honda has dropped to tenth and third last place in the world championship for teams.
So far, Moto2 rider Ai Ogura of the Idemitsu Honda Asia Team was considered a candidate for LCR 2022, but both riders may even be seeded, which could open up opportunities for Jack Miller. Along with his buddy Cal Crutchlow, “JackAss,” who is driving for Ducati for the fifth season, has certainly been a strong supporter of the LCR and HRC.
LCR team owner Lucio Cecchinell was playing without a clue when asked about Miller by SPEEDWEEK.com. No wonder he still has to compete 16 Grand Prix with his current driver duo in 2022.
“Wow, I do not know anything about it,” sighed the Italian. “I really do not know anything.” After a short pause for thought, the team leader continued with carefully selected words: “We are concentrating on our task for 2022. Our plan is to relax four years with Alex Márquez, two plus two years. But the decision to extend the contract certainly depends on his performance. I do not deny that we are below our expectations. I would not say that it is only Alex’s fault, because last year’s bike was not really competitive. Also Alex moved to LCR from the Repsol team, he got a new crew chief and a new technical crew. We could not get the most out of it. “
“This year we started with a new motorcycle, we also made a number of staff changes, Beefy Bourguignon was promoted to technical director,” Cecchinello added. “I admit that we expected better results from the start of the season. But the truth is that we have not really been able to exploit the potential of the new bike so far. We still have a few things to explore, including the chassis geometry. We have a really good grip at the back now, we have excellent drive and very good acceleration, but unfortunately the drivers complain about lack of front feel.So we have to find out what the best geometry is for Alex and Taka.I definitely think we will wait for more race before we give up our clear four-year plan with Alex Márquez.We would like to see if we reach our goal or not.If we reach the desired goals I would be very happy.It will be nice.Alex is twice world champion and a “very good driving. But for some reason we still have a hard time consistently finishing in the top ten. We also want to see individual highlights in the top five. We want to analyze the reasons and then make a decision together with Honda.”
The reasons for this are clear: Both LCR drivers have no contract with the team, but with HRC, and the Japanese also pay the driver’s fees.
Championship status after 4 of 21 Grand Prix:
1. Bastianini 61 points. 2 Rins 56 3 Aleix Espargaró 50 4 Mir 46 5 Quartararo 44 6 Brad Binder 42 7 Miller 31 8 Zarco 31 9 Oliveira 28 10 Martin 28 11 Pol Espargaró 12/23 Bagnaia 23/13 Marc 1 Bid 6 4 Mar 1 1 Mar 5 6 4 12 17 Marini 10 18 Bezzecchi 7 19 Darryn Binder 6 20 Alex Marquez 4 21. Dovizioso 3. 22. Gardner 1.
Ducati 86 points. 2. KTM 59. 3. Suzuki 57. 4. Aprilia 51. 5. Yamaha 44. 6. Honda 34.
1. Suzuki Ecstar 102 points. 2. Red Bull KTM Factory 70. 3. Aprilia Racing 69. 4. Gresini Racing MotoGP 61. 5. Pramac Racing 59. 6. Monster Energy Yamaha 58. 7. Ducati Lenovo 54. 8. Repsol Honda 44. 9. Mooney VR46 Racing 17. 10. Yamaha RNF 17. 10. 1