26 years of Repsol Honda MotoGP racing motorcycles

With a racing history in modern times dating back 26 years, it can be argued the Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) racing team, Repsol Honda Team, has been very successful. Its racing palmares include 15 MotoGP World Championships and 180 race wins at the top level of two-wheeled motorsport.

Malaysian motorcycle racing fans will remember the time, beginning in 1994, when Mick Doohan tore up Batu Tiga with the Honda NSR, a two-stroke 500 that had a reputation for spitting riders off and punishing the unwary. But it was good enough to take Doohan to five consecutive world championships from 1994 to 1998, followed by Repsol Honda team mate Spaniard Alex Criville in 1999.

Fan favourite Valentino Rossi then did a stint in the seat of the Honda RC211V with a 990cc engine and around 220hp, giving Repsol Honda a three-year winning streak in MotoGP from 2001 to 2003 before moving to cement his career with Yamaha while the late Nicky Hayden on the 800 cc Honda RC212V gave HRC a single word championship in 2006, and, alongside Australian Casey Stoner on a Ducati in 2007, punctuated Rossi’s dominance of MotoGP in the 2000’s.

Moving into the 2010’s, Stoner, riding the one-litre RC213V, was world champion in 2011, before retiring in 2012. This was followed by the rise of the “Spanish Inquisition” where the top rung was subjected to the dominance of Spanish riders.

The MotoGP world championship became a series of swaps between Jorge Lorenzo, then on a Yamaha YZR, and Marc Marquez, riding for Repsol Honda. Like him or loathe, Marc Marquez is currently the most dominant rider on the MotoGP grid, with six world championships under his belt riding the Honda RC213V and 51 race wins from 2013 to 2014 and 2016 to 2019.

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