After a disappointing run of form in 2023, Honda – and their Japanese counterparts Yamaha – will be able to have unlimited private testing days in 2024 under the new MotoGP™ Concessions rules that were decided at the end of last year.
With Alex Rins’ (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) 2023 Americas GP victory being Honda’s sole victory since the 2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, HRC is hungrier than ever to return to becoming regular winners again.
That’s why, Honda has scheduled up to 22 private tests for Joan Mir, the Spaniard’s new Repsol Honda teammate Luca Marini, and test rider Stefan Bradl to take part in.
One of those will be at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto on the 24th and 25th of January. Bradl will be putting in the work alongside the majority of WorldSBK teams ahead of the highly anticipated Sepang Shakedown test, which begins on the 1st of February.
In addition, motorsport.com has revealed that Honda is in the market for a second test rider to take some of the load off Bradl primarily, but also Mir and Marini who will be competing in the busiest MotoGP™ season to date.
Motogp Team Boss Names Remarkable Choice For ‘surprise Rider Of 2024’
Luca Marini and Johann Zarco are the riders that have come across from Ducati, but a quick fix does not appear to be in store, even though Marini looked good at the post-season test in Valencia.
As a result of their poor results, Honda, along with Yamaha will benefit from extra testing as part of the concession system.
Both manufacturers will also be allowed to develop their engine while the other three brands’ development will be frozen.
Honda wants to take full advantage of this opportunity by conducting 22 private tests, Motorsport.com report.
Honda, who currently has Stefan Bradl leading their test program, also wants to employ a second full-time MotoGP test rider in order to carry out such demands.
Johann Zarco has been tipped to be the surprise of 2024 – by the team he has left behind. The French veteran left Pramac Ducati to link up with LCR Honda this season.
His choice was initially considered a head-scratcher – swapping the best bike on the MotoGP grid for the worst. But he was tied down to a two-year deal which gave him an extra season guaranteed compared to extending his stay at Pramac.
Paolo Campinoti, the Pramac boss, was asked by Gazzetta dello Sport to predict his ‘surprise’ rider for 2024.
“Zarco,” he responded. Campinoti shared Zarco’s thoughts on his first test of the Honda at the postseason Valencia test. “That after doing the first laps with the 2023 bike he wanted to stop,” Campinoti claimed. “While he found the 2024 bike impressive. “So he will also be among the suitors this year.”
Honda will benefit from a new concessions rule which they hope can transform their fortunes, after losing Marc Marquez due to their uncompetitive package.
They have brought in Luca Marini at Repsol Honda and Zarco to Lucio Cecchinello’s LCR, two experienced riders whose feedback could also speed up the manufacturer’s progress.
Up To 22 Private Tests Planned For Honda In 2024
Honda intends to use MotoGP’s new concessions system carefully throughout the season. However, it didn’t result in success at first.
After a series of unsatisfactory success, the Japanese manufacturer faced more challenges in 2023, both in terms of results and due to the significant lineup adjustments.
The loss was six bigger when MotoGP champion Marc Marquez left for Ducati and Alex Rins. Dudes have won one race earlier and joined Yamaha!
Despite these challenges, Honda is committed to use the new concession system. Both Honda and Yamaha have an advantage in the competition since they may do unlimited private test days with their racing riders.
They can continue and develop the engines while their competitors’ progress is stalled. The strategic decision was taken by Honda in order to focus on testing.
We have reports from sources, and they say Honda is methodically working a private test calendar with up to 22 outings.
Johann Zarco and Luca Marini from Ducati are the ideal candidates to supervise the tests. And, yes of course Honda has assigned two of them. However, we are pretty much sure Honda would not overcome challenges anytime soon.
Although Marini promised performance at the Valencia postseason test, we have to wait a bit more. Both Honda and Yamaha would have more testing time for this concession system.
It would improve their performance and eliminate any poor performance. Additionally, there’s no risk of competitors. Neither Yamaha nor Honda feels restricted and they have wide option to improve engine development.
Currently, Stefan Bradl is in charge of Honda’s test programme. And the team is likely to have another full-time MotoGP test rider to help with testing.
It is important that Honda assigns a second test rider. It is one of the Honda’s testing strategy. Bradl is a regular in wildcard appearance. He can successfully compete in five or more racing weekends.
Riders with wide testing eligibility, like as Luca Marini and Joan Mir, have less testing chances. It’s because they have racing commitments.
It highlights the importance of transition. On the other hand, Riders like as Johann Zarco and Takaaki Nakagami are not currently scheduled to take on additional testing duties for Honda. However, we can expect, it is soon to change in future.
The first testing session will start in Jerez on January 22. It will include two World Superbike teams.
Here, Mir and Marini are expected to attend the collective shakedown in Sepang in the first week of February. We are to have the formal introduction of HRC garage members in Japan.
Johann Zarco and Takaaki Nakagami will compete for the satellite LCR team this year. In return, Honda will contribute to the development of a new vehicle, both in private and in public.
However, its a surprise that, no plans are present at the moment which Honda can use for private testing.
Next week, the members of the test team and LCR will travel to Tokyo to take part in the traditional ‘schooling’. This is where, they will familiarise themselves with the new 2024 Honda models.
Here, the first interaction will take place. After this, Bradl and the entire team will visit Jerez for the first run. It will be held by the week of 22 January, alongside the World Superbike teams
We are so excited about it! What about you? Let us know your opinion in the comments. Stick to us for more on Honda.