Mick Doohan gave Honda five consecutive MotoGP world titles. However, the genie seems to be pretty out of the bottle at HRC at the moment, so according to Doohan there is currently a bit of a genie within the current HRC project. According to the Australian, failure is the logical outcome.
Mick Doohan won the 500cc world title five times in a row between 1994 and 1998, a streak that only Giacomo Agostini and Valentino Rossi have achieved. Doohan took all his victories on Honda. The Australian and his NSR500 were an almost unbeatable team at the time.
More than two decades later, Honda is in one of the biggest upsets in motorsport history. In 2022, only two podiums were achieved. No Honda driver was able to take victory in the Premier class. Honda finished in last place in the World Constructors’ Championship.
In an interview with Motorsport-Magazin.com, Doohan spoke candidly about the situation his former employer is currently in.
Mike Doohan: “2022 has been a disappointing season for Honda. They have completely lost their way. In my opinion, they should go back to the mindset that existed when Soichiro Honda or his immediate successors were at the helm. Since then there have been many personnel changes and people have forgotten why they are racing of Honda – win at all costs!”
Honda founder Soichiro Honda died in 1991 during Doohan’s third season in the top flight. He had already retired in 1973, but the self-made man’s ‘work ethic’ continued to dominate the company for a long time.
Mike Doohan: “That’s why I stayed with Honda for a long time at that time. I often talked to other manufacturers like Yamaha or Suzuki, but I didn’t see that commitment to racing in any other brand. It wasn’t about the money at all. Honda then went up and more and working very hard to stay on top. Now it seems to be more of a ‘we can’t do more’ mentality. They are not working well. It seems that they are sleeping too easily instead of focusing on what they need to do to have a winning bike in the future.
In 2023, together with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda), Alex Rins and Joan Mir will also compete in the first class on the Honda RC213V. The two come from Suzuki, the motorcycle brand that decided to withdraw as a manufacturer from the MotoGP category after 2022. Rins will ride in the colors of LCR Honda Team Castrol while Mir will be Marquez’s new teammate in the Repsol Honda Team.