The Honda Racing Corporation will remain in the MotoGP world championship until the end of 2026, after signing a new five-year deal with Dorna Sports.
Honda has been a mainstay in the world championship since it made its full-time return to grand prix racing’s premier class in 1982, winning the title 20 times in that space of time – most recently with Marc Marquez in 2019.
Honda currently fields four bikes in MotoGP, with two Repsol-backed factory team RC213Vs complimented by two riders at LCR – both of whom in 2021 will be factory-supported.
Honda’s renewal with MotoGP comes as little surprise, with the Japanese marque now the third factory to commit to MotoGP beyond 2021 alongside Ducati and KTM.
“First, I would like to express my respect and gratitude to Carmelo Ezpeleta and everyone at Dorna Sports for their hard work in organising races during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Noriaki Abe, Honda’s managing officer of motorcycle operations, said.
“I am very pleased that we have renewed our contract to compete in MotoGP from 2022 to 2026. Honda has been competing in the FIM Grand Prix World Championship since 1959, and won its 800th grand prix last year. Honda believes MotoGP racing is vital to our motorsports activities.
“MotoGP is the pinnacle of motorcycle racing – it allows us to develop various technologies, and through fierce competition, teach our engineers and nurture their skills. With these engineers working on the development of production vehicles, Honda can create better products for its customers.
“Honda will continue to bring dreams and joy to its customers worldwide through its motorsports activities, including MotoGP.”
“This important announcement brings great pride to MotoGP because Honda is one of the first names that comes to our mind when we think about motorcycling racing,” Carmelo Ezpeleta, Dorna Sports CEO, added.
“The Japanese manufacturer has been such an important part of the past, present and future of the FIM MotoGP World Championship and this renewal reinforces, even more, the commitment between both parties.”
Honda comes into 2021 with a revised factory line-up, after Pol Espargaro penned a two-year deal to join Marquez.
Marquez’s participation in the start of the 2021 campaign – currently scheduled for 28 March in Qatar – remains in doubt as he continues to recover from a third operation on the right arm he broke in last year’s Spanish Grand Prix.
At LCR, Marquez’s Moto2 title-winning brother Alex will partner Takaaki Nakagami on current-spec machinery for the Spaniard’s second season in MotoGP.
The younger Marquez brother proved to be Honda’s leading light in a difficult 2020 season, scoring its only rostrums with two second-place finishes in France and the first Aragon round.
The Repsol Honda team will officially launch its 2021 season on 22 February in a virtual presentation featuring both Espargaro and Marc Marquez.
Alex Marquez’s LCR colours will be unveiled on 19 February, with team-mate Nakagami’s 2021 launch event taking place a day after.
Though Yamaha, Suzuki and Aprilia are yet to confirm their participation in MotoGP beyond this year, they are expected to sign new deals.
Of the independent teams, currently only LCR and Gresini – which will no longer be Aprilia’s factory entrant from 2022 – have confirmed they will both stay in MotoGP.