Honda’s factory MotoGP squad unveiled the paint scheme for its 2021 challenger in an online launch on Monday, revealing an unchanged Repsol branded livery for Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro.
The livery for the ’21 spec RC213-V retains the now customary orange, red and white of title sponsor Repsol, featuring several smaller accents for associate partner Red Bull.
Marquez looks set to miss the start of the ’21 season as he continues to recover from the broken humerus in his right arm that he suffered in a heavy crash in last year’s opening round at Jerez.
He said during the launch event his recovery is going in “a good way”, though warned his doctors “don’t know” when he will be able to return to competition.
The Spaniard underwent a successful surgery in early December to try and cure a condition called pseudarthrosis, an illness that meant his humerus bone wasn’t able to heal properly and forced him to ultimately miss the rest of the ’20 campaign.
While a comeback hasn’t yet been set in stone, a May return has been mooted as a target bearing in mind the usual outlook for recovery from the surgery he underwent, meaning he could miss up to six races, his replacement most likely to be Honda test rider Stefan Bradl.
Andrea Dovizioso remains in the frame to possibly rejoin the organisation with which he scored his first premier class victory back in 2009 as Marquez’s stand in, though his appointment likely hinges on whether the seven time MotoGP world champions return is delayed further.
Espargaro therefore will likely have to pick up the team leader mantle in the early races of ’21 in his rookie year with Honda, a prospect that shouldn’t frighten the ’13 Moto2 world champion too much after leading KTM to an impressive fifth in the riders standings last year.
His and team-mate Brad Binder’s efforts also helped the Austrian manufacturer to a best ever constructors result of fourth-just 21 points down on champions Ducati-promising Honda a good chance of improving on its rather dismal run to fifth in the manufacturers standings last year.
Honda failed to win a race during a MotoGP season for the first time since 2004 following Marquez’s injury enforced break, Bradl and MotoGP newcomer Alex Marquez struggling to manoeuvre the RC213-V to the front of the pack throughout the year.
Alex at least mounted a mid-year push as he collected a pair of runner-up results at the French and Aragon grand prix’s, helping him to finish 14th overall as the highest factory HRC racer in the riders points.