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HONDA, 56 years of GP, at the highest level

Since Soichiro Honda undertook the commercial "crusade" on the western market, it became clear that his strategy was based on technological demonstration through participation in the most prestigious races and championships. In 1959, he disembarked, for the first time, on the Isle of Man in order to participate in the prestigious TT (Tourist Trophy) - at the time this race was not only part of the World Championship but also the most prestigious manifestation of speed motorcycle racing in the World. -. Team HONDA only appeared in the Ultra Lightweight (125cc) class, despite having won the trophy for the constructors, which was no stranger to the fact that they lined up 6 factory riders, the first HONDA ended up in sixth position (Naomi Taniguchi). The technological level and the ability to organize the structure of the races increased and the results were emerging until in 1966 they started their participation in the premier class: the 500cc.



In 1966 HONDA presented itself with the RC181 (499.60cc, 4 cylinders in line, 4T, 16 valves DOHC, 85CV/12,000 rpm, 151 kg dry), this bike was used for two seasons (1966/7) and in that period he won a constructors' title (1966) and won 10 victories (8x Mike Hailwood and 2x Jim Redman) in GPs out of a total of 19 disputed. At a time when motorcycles equipped with 2T engines began to emerge arguing for a specific power much higher than the 4T, HONDA chose to abandon the World Championship.


After more than 10 years of absence, HONDA felt the need to return to the bigger stage in 1979. For reasons related to the justification that led them to abandon at the end of 1967, they decided to return with a 4T engine. In fact, it was a strange option, however, when producing an engine with what they called oval pistons, they tried to circumvent the regulation in terms of the number of cylinders, hoping to get closer to the 2T... HONDA NR 500 (498.00cc, 4 cylinders in V, 4T, 32 valves DOHC, 135 HP/19,500 rpm). In fact, irrespective of other positions on this matter, my opinion is that this project was a real fiasco. The engine was never able to provide the necessary power in a range of use that did not weaken reliability... At the end of 1982 the project was abandoned!


In 1983 Honda lined up for the "establishment" to introduce the NS500 (498.60cc, V-3, 2T, 127.5 hp/11,000 rpm, 113 kg dry) along with a wonder rider: Freddie Spencer. This recipe proved to be fantastic and in 1983 HONDA won the constructors' title and Freddie Spencer the riders' title. This bike has won 13 GPs. This model would give rise to the production of competition-customer motorcycles that also proved to be very competitive and that became the weapon of private individuals in the following years.


In 1984, HONDA introduced the first version of the NSR500 (2001 specs: 499.00cc, V-4, 2T, 190 hp/12,500 rpm, 130 kg dry) which was piloted by Freddie Spencer. From then until 2001, this model evolved, keeping the engine architecture and the fact that it has only one crankshaft. In total he won 11 constructors' titles (out of a possible 17), 10 drivers' titles (out of a possible 17) and 133 GP victories.


With the regulatory change from 500 to MOTOGP, to the taste of HONDA, the brand presented the RC211V (990.00cc, 5 cylinders in V, 4T, 20 DOHC valves, 220 hp, 145 kg dry). This model evolved between 2002 and 2006 and in its various versions and with several drivers it has the following history: 4 constructor titles (out of 5 possible), 3 riders' titles (out of 5 possible) and 48 GP victories.


In 2007, with the maximum displacement reduction imposed by the regulations, HONDA presented the RC212V (800.00cc, 4 cylinders in V, 4T, 16 valves, 210 HP, 150 kg). This model ran from 2007 to 2011 inclusive. Won 1 constructors' title (out of 5 possible), 1 drivers' title (out of 5 possible) and 36 GPs.


In 2012, again because of a regulatory change in maximum displacement, HONDA introduced the RC213V (1,000.00cc, 4T, 4-cylinder V, 16 valves, 240 hp, 157 kg dry). This model and its various evolutions remains active and to date has won 3 constructors' titles (out of 5 possible), 3 riders' titles (out of 5 possible) and 51 race victories.



Throughout the history of HONDA in the main class, many riders have added their skills in order to make possible the fantastic achievements of this brand. Data updated after German GP (Sachsenring) 2022.06.19.

The 21 riders' World Champion titles: 6 titles: - Marc Marquez: 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 5 titles: - Mick Doohan: 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998 3 titles: - Valentino Rossi: 2001, 2002 and 2003 2 titles: - Freddie Spencer: 1983 and 1985 1 title: - Casey Stoner: 2011 - Nicky Hayden: 2006 - Alex Criville: 1999 - Eddie Lawson: 1989 - Wayne Gardner: 1987

The 311 GP victories: 58 wins: - Marc Marquez 54 wins: - Mick Doohan 33 wins: - Valentino Rossi 31 wins: - Dani Pedrosa 20 wins: - Freddie Spencer 18 wins: - Wayne Gardner 15 wins: - Casey Stoner - Alex Criville 8 wins: - Seven Gibernau - Mike Hailwood 6 wins: - Alex Barros 5 wins: - Marco Melandri - Max Biaggi 4 wins: - Tadayuki Okada - Randy Mamola - Eddie Lawson 3 wins: - Cal Crutchlow - Nicky Hayden 2 wins: - Makoto Tamada - Jim Redman - Carlos Checa - Luca Cadalora 1 win: - Tohru Ukawa - Alberto Puig - Takazumi Katayama - Toni Elias - Andrea Dovizioso - Pierfrancesco Chili - Loris Capirossi - Daryl Beattie - Jack Miller


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