MotoGP: Goodbye Repsol? Honda already does it on its own!

There are signs of divorces between Honda and Repsol. Honda HRC could sponsor itself as it is already doing in some championships.
Misterhelmet video from a base text by Laila Carvallo

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Honda gave us a surprise during the team presentations earlier in the year by showing off a new set of colours on the RC213V – no more is it predominated by the sun orange and dayglo red of the past 30 years, but rather by the colours of the Saitama house.

Honda took the decision to run with their classic red-blue-white colour palette in order to uniformise its branding identity in its motorsport projects. You can see similar liveries across the championships HRC compete in – Rally Raid, Motocross, Superbike.

The reality is that this was the result of a strained relationship between the Japanese and the Spanish oil giant over the winter period, in part caused by Márquez’s blockbuster divorce at the end of last year.
Repsol, not wanting to spend the same amount for its title sponsorship with the team in the last year in the contract, made Honda push them to the background and reduce their visual fingerprint from the bike to the garage walls.
This came as a blessing in disguise for Repsol however, as its current positioning on the livery reads better than before, thanks to the “ground effect” fairing seen on the bottom-half of the bike. The amount of aero pieces on the top-half of the bike doesn’t allow for a good readability in comparison.

[We have already talked about it on Misterhelmet here]

Nevertheless, the results presented by Marini and Mir have been anything but promising. Dead last in the 3 races so far, and with no prospects as we enter into the European tour of the calendar. As iconic and historical the HRC team is, at this moment, it’s not looking like a good place for companies to gamble “title sponsor” money.
We’ve seen at Misterhelmet the possibility of Petronas being the one to fill in Repsol’s shoes once the contract ends in 2024. The Malaysians have been in touch with Honda since the pandemic, but the situation is much different now.
Bad results, and a stubbornness to align the livery with the other HRC teams might be factors to dissuade Petronas from getting on the RC213V.

A solution has been trialled last year – Bradl, Honda’s MotoGP test rider, did a wildcard in Misano with a bike sporting “Pro Honda” stickers. At the time, the stickers were very small, almost the same size as Japan Post in the last 8H Suzuka (JP were HRC title sponsors there). 

Pro Honda is the Japanese house’s range of oil products sold for the Southeast Asia market – we’re talking India, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, Bangladesh – key markets for Honda and a main part of MotoGP’s current audience. 

Moreso, Pro Honda’s competitors in the sport would be Pertamina Lubricants (seen at VR46), Yamalube (seen at Yamaha), Federal Oil (seen at Gresini) and Motul (seen at GASGAS and Pramac).

HRC already self-sponsors in the AMA Pro Motocross series with Pro Honda, and it could do the same for its MotoGP project for 2025, in the possibility that they’re orphaned by its title sponsor.

Bradl returned as a wildcard in Jerez and his livery is the same as Marini and Mir’s with one change – Repsol logos replaced with Pro Honda, in the same spots and sizes.

If Repsol are title sponsors, then Pro Honda feels like so as well. And it could very well be a look into what can happen next year.  

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