Poker Face | Is Fabio Quartararo entertaining a 2022 MotoGP approach by Honda?

Spanish media reports Honda is preparing an approach to MotoGP World Champion Fabio Quartararo for the 2023 amid uncertainties over Marc Marquez's fitness

Marc Marquez, Fabio Quartararo - Honda, Yamaha

The 2022 MotoGP World Championship is a long way off but that doesn’t mean plans for 2023 aren’t in full swing amid talk new champion Fabio Quartararo is open to being swayed away from Yamaha and into a rival team.

Quartararo became the first Frenchman to win the MotoGP World Championship this year, only his third season in the top flight and his inaugural as a Yamaha Factory Racing rider.

While he is signed on to defend his title with Yamaha in 2022, negotiations for the next cycle of contracts beginning in 2023 are well underway with Quartararo’s increasingly abrasive rhetoric concerning Yamaha towards the conclusion of the year being interpreted as him being open to alternative offers.

As such, teams are sensing an opening to approach, with the latest rumour concerning Quartararo and Honda. According to sources in the Spanish media, Quartararo is top of its wishlist for 2023 to replace Pol Espargaro… or even Marc Marquez.

Indeed, Honda’s interest in Quartararo is three-fold. First and foremost, he is a natural target as a MotoGP World Champion, secondly Honda is keen to get a young race-winning rider on the RC213V to present a stronger front following two difficult years, and thirdly, there remain question marks over Marquez’s ongoing fitness.

It is this latter point that is perhaps most niggling in Honda’s minds, with Marquez’s return to form towards the end of 2021 - after an arduous journey back from the arm injury he sustained in July 2020 - being hampered by a fresh injury to his eye.

With this in mind, it is believed Marquez - who is contracted to the end of 2024 - would waive his ‘veto’ that would block any other rider from threatening his #1 status within the team, not least because there is the possibility he might not ever return to full strength.

If Quartararo decides against it though, Honda is believed to be also courting 2020 MotoGP World Championship Joan Mir from Suzuki.

How plausible are the Fabio Quartararo to Honda MotoGP rumours?

We’ll be prepared to pinch a decent amount of salt from the source of these rumours - the Spanish media - but it has been fairly accurate in recent seasons when it comes to surprise announcements, such as Pol Espargaro heading to Repsol Honda and Jorge Lorenzo’s retirement…

The premise does make sense from Honda’s perspective as the increasingly fragile Marquez fends off yet more injuries in a year that saw him suffer a recoiling number of high-speed accidents.

Given Honda’s struggles in Marquez’s absence in 2020, it can be forgiven for wanting to aim high for an alternative, or even a full replacement if the Spaniard doesn’t return to full form and fitness.

As for whether Quartararo is likely to leave Yamaha, while it is likely he would be open to listening to Honda, signing on the dotted line is another thing. 

He has spent three very successful seasons in MotoGP with Yamaha and the openness to alternatives stems from his dissatisfaction at the gulf in performance between it and Ducati by the season’s end.

Quite sensibly he is waiting until testing to make a formal decision, but that means three months in which other manufacturers can work on him, which in turn puts pressure on Yamaha to roll out a competitive M1 come February…