"Sheer Panic" - Honda Seeks Chassis Help From Kalex
For years, Honda has been on an uncertain journey in MotoGP. After years of disappointment, Kalex is set to take over the development of a new MotoGP chassis.
After another disappointing winter break for Repsol Honda and a lack of results at the pre-season tests in Sepang and Portimao, the Japanese haven’t much time to get the MotoGP project back on track.
For the near future, they are now looking for help in chassis development. As SPEEDWEEK.com revealed on Wednesday, the Japanese have commissioned Kalex to develop a new MotoGP chassis.
In the Grand Prix bubble, Honda’s decision had caused some astonishment and incomprehension. After all, the chassis is the basis of the bike.
As the world’s largest motorbike manufacturer, not being able to provide its own chassis for a competitive MotoGP project borders on embarrassment.
HRC seems to have taken leave of its senses. They are now trying with all their might to make the RC213V competitive again and to keep top star Marc Marquez in their own ranks.
As an anonymous HRC employee confirms to SPEEDWEEK.com, there is “sheer panic” at HRC. “It’s always been like that [at HRC]. When the results don’t come, everyone panics.”
How long will Marc Marquez continue to gamble?
At the latest since the mid-season test at Mugello 2022, Honda superstar has publicly demanded action.
More than three years have passed in which the Honda engineers have failed to adapt the chassis to the conditions of MotoGP and the prescribed Michelin tyres.
HRC boss Shinya Wakabayashi reacted promptly to the new season and dismissed Technical Director Takeo Yokoyama.
With Suzuki’s departure, they were able to sign a blockbuster name in Ken Kawauchi, however, results are still lacking.
With his contract due to expire in 2024 and continuous angry comments regarding Honda’s development work, the long-standing Marc-Marquez-Honda union is about to come to an end.
To meet Marquez’s demand for “several steps”, the search for help in developing a MotoGP chassis follows.
The decision in favour of a Kalex chassis is an aggressive step, however, it is needed in order to get the Honda MotoGP project back in line.
Already before the Valencia test in November, the new Kalex chassis is said to have been commissioned.
There is silence about the whole affair. Nevertheless, a possible date for a first test ride by the Honda riders has leaked through.
When Kalex started to develop for their Moto2 entry in 2010, the German engineers managed to have the Moto2 chassis ready to race after three-quarters of a year.
Given the presumed commissioning of the chassis before the Valencia test in November 2022 and the increased expertise of Kalex since 2010, a new Honda chassis should be expected in May this year.
According to information of SPEEDWEEK.com, a first test is planned at the IRTA test in Jerez (May 1st).
There, test rider Stefan Bradl, who will take part in the Grand Prix (April 28th – 30th) with a wild card anyway, could set up the new chassis for the then following test.