Repsol Honda: The Most Victorious Team of the MotoGP
Among the best Moto GP teams, Repsol Honda is one of the first to pop into mind. In our post today, let's review this world-class racing team's golden era.
The Repsol Honda MotoGP World Championship track record is simply incredible. The team holds the most victories because season after season it brings serious competition to the tracks, making it a constant rival to beat.
Since its beginnings, the World Championship saw many progressive changes over the years to become the championship that it is today. The cylinders, circuits, teams and other elements hardly seem anything like what they were centuries before.
Repsol Honda at the beginning of the MotoGP World Championship
Repsol Honda has participated in this prestigious competition for years. But today, we’ll only focus on the results of recent times. Let’s head back to 2002, which is when the competition officially became known as “MotoGP.”
Repsol Honda: the era of Valentino Rossi, 2002-2003
It all started when Repsol Honda announced the signing of Valentino Rossi for the 2002 season. Having performed impressively with a sister team, directive members deemed the Italian racer ready to join their official team.
His first year was incredible. With a total of eleven victories– he won seven of them consecutively– he became the world champion of motorbike racing. On the other hand, Repsol Honda replaced his teammate, Ukawa at the end of the season with Nicky Hayden, due to his poor performance; he only won the South Africa Grand Prix.
Repsol Honda also dominated the next season, 2003. Rossi once again reigned with a total of nine victories. Meanwhile Hayden also brought glory to the name by landing in third place in the Australia and Japan Grand Prix competitions.
Repsol Honda: hard times, 2004-2005
But, things got complicated for Repsol Honda when Rossi left the team to join Yamaha. Nicky Hayden and Barros took the reins in 2004 and landed in eighth and fourth place, respectively, in the world championships. In other words, it was a disastrous year for Repsol Honda.
In the following year, the team swapped Barros for Max Biaggi and things got a little better. Despite the improvement, Repsol Honda was far from where it wanted to be: the team only claimed one victory at Laguna Seca.
Nick Hayden brings joy back into Repsol Honda
In 2006, the team decided to keep trusting in Nicky Hayden (shown in the featured image) and also signed young Dani Pedrosa. Together, the two racers won a total of four victories by the end of the season and Hayden claimed the world-champion title. Things started to look up for Repsol Honda.
Yamaha dominates: 2007-2010
Despite the excitement of the prior season, the next three years became another drought for Repsol Honda. Initially, the team had high hopes for their new 800 cc. bike and Pedrosa. However, he only rose to be second-best in the world championship. Furthermore, in the entire season, Pedroso only claimed two victories while Hayden won none.
Cue Stoner: 2011-2012
In 2011, Honda signed Casey Stoner to the team. Stoner, alongside Dovizioso and Pedroso, sealed a successful season for Repsol Honda. The team once again had a good chance for the championship title.
The Australian racer ended up winning the title. He won ten of the 14 races and stepped on the podium for nearly every one of them. He failed to make the podium in the Spanish and Malaysia Grand Prix competitions because of his suspension from the fatal Marco Simoncelli incident. Consequently, he couldn’t continue with his victory streak in 2012.
The Marc Márquez era
Stoner’s unexpected bow out of the MotoGP led Honda to sign the future motor racing legend: Marc Márquez. The young racer debuted in the MotoGP World Championships as a world champion: he won six races in his first seasons.
His victories continued throughout the following years. In the 2014 season, Márquez won the first ten world championship races, becoming world champion for the second time. In 2015, Yamaha racer Jorge Lorenzo outraced Márquez for the title.
But Márquez and Honda would take it back in 2016 until 2018. In the 2019 season, Márquez and his former rival Lorenzo will be defending Repsol Honda’s title.