HRC has enlisted the help of Ken Kawauchi as Technical Director of the MotoGP project. New LCR Honda team player Alex Rins is delighted that former Suzuki technical manager has signed up.
What SPEEDWEEK.com had already reported last week was confirmed a few days later by Repsol Honda team boss Alberto Puig: Ken Kawauchi, who has worked as Technical Manager of the Suzuki factory team for the past ten years, is strengthening the MotoGP Honda project Racing. Corporation (HRC).
The Japanese takes on the role of Technical Director, replacing Takeo Yokoyama, who has been responsible for MotoGP technology at HRC since 2016. He will be training young engineers in Japan while his successor focuses on improving the 2023 version of the Honda RC213V.
Kawauchi has played a key role in improving the Suzuki GSX-RR over the past few years. The manufacturer from Hamamatsu, who retired from MotoGP after the 2022 season, was able to celebrate the world title with Joan Mir in 2020. Last year it was Alex Rins who celebrated two victories of the season on Suzuki – in the third to last round of the season in Phillip Island and in the season finale in Valencia.
The 27-year-old Spaniard moved to the LCR Honda Team after retiring from Suzuki. And he is impressed by Kawauchi’s commitment, as he explained on social media: “I’m very happy about it! Ken was a key figure in Suzuki’s success, building the bike and making sure it was competitive until the very last lap. That’s why it’s great that he’s now taking over a new challenge with us.”
Kawauchi is contesting his first race in HRC colors these days, as part of the World Superbike Championship test at the Circuito de Jerez, where HRC test rider Stefan Bradl is also on track for testing purposes.
MotoGP World Championship final standings (after 20 races):
1 Bagnaia 265. 2nd Quartararo 248 points. 3 Bastianini 219 4 Aleix Espargaró 212 5 Miller 189 6 Brad Binder 188 7 Rins 173 8 Zarco 166 9 Martin 152 10 Oliveira 149 11 Viñales 122 12 Marini 120 13 Marc Marquez 113 11 Bezecchi 115 11 Mir 87 16 Pol Espargaró 17 Alex. 18 Nakagami 48 19 Morbidelli 42 20 Di Giannantonio 24 21 Dovizioso 15 .22 Raul Fernandez 14 23 Remy Gardner 13 24 Darryn Binder 12 25 Crutchlow 10 26 Bradl 2
1. Ducati 448 points. 2. Yamaha 256. 3. Aprilia 248. 4. KTM 240. 5. Suzuki 199. 6. Honda 155.
World Cup Team:
1. Ducati Lenovo Team 454 points. 2. Red Bull KTM Factory 337. 3. Aprilia Racing 334. 4. Prima Pramac Racing 318. 5. Monster Energy Yamaha 290. 6. Suzuki Ecstar 260. 7. Gresini Racing 243. 8. .Mooney VR416 Racing 2. Honda 171 of 10 LCR Honda 98th 11 WithU Yamaha RNF 37th 12 Tech3 KTM Factory 27