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MotoGP Japanese GP

Honda selects replacement for axed MotoGP technical boss Kokubu

Honda has settled on Shin Sato as the new technical chief for its beleaguered MotoGP project after making the decision to axe Shinichi Kokubu, Autosport has learned.

Joan Mir, Repsol Honda Team, Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Previously head of development for the Honda RC213V, Sato will start in his new role as general technical director on 1 October, the same day the Japanese Grand Prix takes place at Motegi.

However, it remains to be seen whether the appointment will have any impact when it comes to the subject of determining Marc Marquez's future, as Marquez debates whether to see out his Honda contract or jump ship to the Gresini Ducati squad for 2024.

Marquez made a reference to Kokubu's departure in his statements on the media after Friday practice in Japan.

“It’s true that already in Misano I said there were some new faces there, new names, new people,” said the Spanish rider.

“We will see if they bring new ideas or the correct ideas. But one more time I continue with my words: I’m not the guy who chooses where, how and who needs to make the bike.”

Marquez had stated that he would make a decision around the time of last weekend's Indian GP and this weekend's Motegi round, but stated on Thursday that no official news on his 2024 plans would be forthcoming at Honda's home race.

Autosport understands that Honda executives are still trying to convince Marquez to honour the final year of his contract over the course of the various meetings that will be held at Motegi this weekend.

It seems that the promotion of Sato, another Japanese engineer who was already part of the company, is unlikely to satisfy Marquez's demands.

 

Marquez's team-mate Joan Mir, also commented on the movements at Honda, giving a similar view to that of the six-time MotoGP champion.

“If there are changes at Honda it is because they were necessary,” stated Mir.

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“Japanese brands do not usually change staff, and if they have done so it is because they are sure of it.

“The important thing is to understand if this change works and provides something new.”

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