Spanish oil giant Repsol has been the factory Honda squad’s title sponsor since 1995 and continues its partnership into 2023, despite rumours in recent years of the tie-up ending.
Honda comes into 2023 off the back of its second winless campaign in three years as it looks to turn around its troubled RC213V and challenge for the championship for the first time since 2019.
Eight-time world champion Marc Marquez remains in the squad as he enters the penultimate season of his four-year deal with Honda, and his physically in the best shape he has been since badly breaking his right arm in 2020.
He will be joined by 2020 world champion Joan Mir, who signed a two-year deal with HRC midway through last year after Suzuki announced it would be quitting MotoGP at the end of 2022.
This will mark the first time since 2019 that the factory Honda squad has featured two world champions in its line-up.
At its launch event in Madrid on Wednesday, Honda unveiled its largely unchanged – but instantly recognisable – colour scheme for the new season.
Repsol Honda Team bike livery
Photo by: Repsol Media
Honda’s winter thus far has not yielded the improvements it had hoped for with its 2023 bike.
After the initial prototype tested in November in Valencia was not positively received, neither Marquez nor Mir felt Honda was close to being competitive with the new bike after last week’s Sepang test.
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At the conclusion of the test, Marquez said: “We started the test with four bikes, second day we had three bikes, today we started with two bikes and in the afternoon was only one bike,” Marquez said after ending the Sepang test 10th overall, 0.777 seconds off the pace.
“So, I already decided that is the bike, this is the direction. But it’s not the bike I need to win the championship, I need another step from that bike.
“But it’s important to have one base clear and to forget about the others.”
Testing will resume in Portugal on 11-12 March, before the season gets underway at the Algarve venue on 26 March.