Honda relocates HRC general manager Kuwata out of MotoGP project

This is the latest move in the restructuring process that the Japanese brand is going through, which started more than a year ago and will most likely not stop with the departure of Kuwata, who will become part of HRC’s car division.

The executive, who will remain in his post until 1 April – which is when the Japanese corporate calendar is reset – will be replaced by Taichi Honda, who comes from the off-road department, and who had recently taken charge of the team that competed in the Dakar Rally.

Although Honda is at pains to stress that this move is not a response to the poor results of its MotoGP teams in recent years, it is difficult to believe that the sporting slump, coupled with the departure of Marc Marquez, had no influence on the decision.

In this regard, it is worth noting that Honda’s last victory was achieved by Alex Rins at the United States Grand Prix last year, and that the manufacturer finished last in the constructors’ table, with 11 fewer points than Yamaha, despite having twice as many bikes.

Marquez, at Motegi, secured the second of only two podiums celebrated in 2023 by HRC riders prior to announcing his departure to Gresini Ducati.

Alex Rins, Team LCR Honda

Alex Rins, Team LCR Honda, on his way to victory at Circuit of the Americas

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Kuwata has been associated with the MotoGP project since 2010, when he joined as a development strategy engineer, moving in 2016 to the role of general manager of all racing divisions.

Kuwata’s departure follows that of Shinichi Kokubu, Honda’s technical manager in MotoGP until last season’s Japanese Grand Prix, when he was replaced by Shin Sato who was named chief technical officer.

Earlier in the winter, Honda decided to move technical director Takeo Yokoyama to the company’s headquarters in Tokyo, with Ken Kawauchi now occupying the role.

Honda is immersed in a whirlwind of changes that aim to return the brand to the top in MotoGP, having gone without a title since 2019.

With 20 days to go until the 2024 MotoGP season starts, Joan Mir and Luca Marini – Marquez’s replacement – are still looking for that lack of traction that already seems endemic in the RC213V.

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