Honda had an unusually good showing at this weekend's MotoGP Bharat GP, which Joan Mir called a bit of a mystery. Both factory Honda riders, Mir in fifth and Marc Marquez in sixth qualified within the top six for the first time in the 2023 MotoGP season. With this form, Marquez finished third in the sprint on Saturday, giving him his second podium of the season. On Sunday, Mir broke his points drought by finishing fifth in the Indian Grand Prix, while his teammate, who crashed early, came back to finish ninth. Michelin brought its tougher rear tyre casing to the Buddh track, which should have hampered Honda just as it has when used elsewhere this season. However, both Mir and Marquez were competitive from the get-go, and they remained so throughout all of the sessions. Marquez thinks Honda's performance was good at Buddh since the track's design is comparable to that of Circuit of the Americas, where Alex Rins won for Honda this year.
MotoGP Bharat GP: What did Honda Riders say about India GP?
For Joan Mir, who had his best finish of the year at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, it was a highlight of his Honda career. Marc Marquez's early challenge for the podium and stunning comeback on the Honda RC213V demonstrated the bike's potential.
Joan Mir: “A great race today. I am super happy with our performance over the weekend and of course to finish in fifth position is a big boost for us. The team and I did a great job to understand the bike more, how you need to make the lap time and be fast this weekend. On the other hand, we had a small thing in the end of the race that meant I lost ground to Fabio and we dropped back. Finally in the end we were able to push and try to catch Binder after I almost crashed. It was a big save! But yeah, a really nice race overall and I have enjoyed my time in India. Let’s keep it up in Japan!”
Marc Marquez: “If you just looked at the final result and see ninth you wouldn’t know the whole story of our race – but to achieve what could be considered our ‘normal’ result after a crash is a positive. It was a really small crash but I was pushing very hard to stay in the slip stream of the bikes ahead, I went a bit wide and just fell. I came into this race with the motivation of the Sprint podium, so when I saw Pecco and Martin make a mistake I decided I needed to push. This led to the mistake. The most important thing was finishing the race, overall our rhythm was very close to Quartararo so I think we can be overall happy with what we have done this weekend."
MotoGP: Is Marc Marquez to Join Gresini Racing?
Speculation has been rampant for weeks that eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez may leave his long-standing connection with Repsol Honda. Reports circulated during the MotoGP Bhharat GP that Marc Marquez was considering a move to Ducati, primarily to ride with his younger sibling Alex Marquez at Gresini Racing, and now Ducati Corse Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti raised speculation.
Paolo Ciabatti said, "As far as Gresini goes, I think it obviously looks like they have this opportunity and they are waiting for Marquez’s decision. I see here that Marquez is very fast with the Honda so yeah, we hear what you hear. He will talk to Honda management in Japan and make a decision but it is something up to him and the team. We as Ducati have four contracted riders which are the two at Lenovo and Pramac and that’s it.”
"This is what we hear, I think everybody knows. I think there are no other options left, it’s the only bike without a rider and Marquez says he had three options. For sure one is to stay with Honda, the other two we can only guess so don’t ask me more, you should ask Marc Marquez and Gresini, people from Gresini, what’s going on. We are negotiating nothing," he added
Whether Marquez will finish out his Honda contract or make a spectacular transfer to Gresini Ducati for 2024 is still up in the air, but we may get some clarity on that front at next weekend's Motegi round.