In an interview this week, Lucio Checchinello, boss of LCR Honda MotoGP Team gave a no nonsense appraisal of his two riders Alex Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami, saying he expects better. Both riders have had a few top tens, including top six finishes, but neither have stuck it on the podium so far in 2021. And that’s not good enough for Lucio.
And he’s not the only Honda team boss that could do with a few more podiums. In fact there’s only been one Honda rider on the podium all year; that was Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez when he took the win at the German GP. Nine rounds in and only one podium for Honda. How times have changed.
Lucio isn’t bothered about that though. He wants podiums. And he wants them now. Or as soon MotoGP kicks off again after the summer break. He said
“With Alex, of course we are looking forward to improving our results. I must say, we expect better.”
Checchinello, the former 125cc Grand Prix racer, went on to offer this explanation,
“Every time you start a project with a new rider, it takes times to establish a good communication between the engineers and the rider, for them to understand each other. At this moment we know that we need to improve. We don’t doubt Alex’s potential, but we just need a bit more time.”
When asked about Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami, he said much the same
“Takaaki shows good potential, but expect a podium. It will arrive soon because he feels good with the bike. It’s just a case of some fine tuning. We are testing a lot of factory parts and we are honoured to provide feedback.”
If you ask me both LCR Honda riders, Marquez and Nakagami, are doing alright. Alright, they haven’t been on the podium yet, but they are riding for a satellite team. And the factory team’s only been on the podium once! MotoGP is as competitive as it’s ever been, so to finish in the top three, you’ve got to ride a perfect race – as well as having a perfect bike. They’ll get there… Jesus, Lucio, cut them some slack, will you?