2024 will mark the 30th year of Repsol’s sponsorship of Honda, a partnership that has made its orange livery one of the most recognisable in the history of motorcycle racing.
However, in what is supposed to be a landmark year for their long-standing association, the Spanish oil giant will end up with limited exposure for its brand on the two factory RC213Vs, while the size of the Repsol logos on Honda pits, trucks and hospitality will also be reduced.
Repsol renewed its contract with Honda in 2023 for one year with an option for a second term, subject to certain conditions. One of the main stipulations was the continued presence of Marc Marquez at the team, which had already appeared to be in doubt amid a slump in the marque’s performance in the last few years.
Marquez’s eventual departure to Gresini Ducati has allowed Repsol to negotiate the finances of the deal and reduce its involvement. With that, Honda feels the contribution of Repsol as a sponsor is not enough to give it as prominent a presence on the livery of the RC213V.
In addition, the Japanese marque has been trying to strengthen its brand image, and one of its medium-term objectives is to expand the use of its corporate colours red, white and blue in all factory teams across various disciplines. Honda already uses this colour scheme in World Superbike, Dakar and motocross.
Honda’s decision has not gone down well with Repsol, which is continuing negotiations with the Tokyo-based brand to expand its presence on the factory prototypes.
In fact, with just two weeks to go before the start of the pre-season test at Sepang, where Honda will run with black-painted fairings, there is no agreement on the final design of the bikes that will be raced by Joan Mir and Luca Marini this season.
Photo by: Repsol Media
Honda is yet to finalise its 2024 MotoGP livery
The two HRC riders are still waiting to be called for the usual photo session for the team’s launch, which will be held on February 13 in Madrid and will be organised by Repsol, as the Spanish oil company announced on Tuesday.
In addition to reducing the presence of Repsol and its orange colour, Honda has lost sponsorship from Red Bull following the exit of Marquez. This means there will be no Red Bull branding on the fairings of the bike or elsewhere in its hospitality unit in the paddock.
At the moment, Honda does not plan to add any new sponsors, while some of the existing sponsors that are featured on rider overalls, trucks and hospitality, such as the brewery Estrella Galicia, have no intention of incorporating their logos on the fairing of the 2024 Honda.
With this situation, Repsol’s 30th season as Honda’s sponsor in the world championship will not be as the company had expected, even more so as the championship moves towards the use of 40% non-fossil fuels in 2024, and 100% synthetic petrol in 2027. It’s a transition in which Repsol hopes to be a protagonist, so it remains to be seen if it will go hand-in-hand with Honda during this phase.