Joan Mir will be working with a different crew chief than originally planned for his first MotoGP season with Repsol Honda.
HRC veteran Ramon Aurin, who had worked with Pol Espargaro and was set to remain on this side of the garage, will be replaced by satellite team crew chief Giacomo Guidotti.
Aurin has been Honda’s crew chief for almost a decade, first moving up from telemetry engineer to the chief role at Dani Pedrosa in 2014, replacing the outgoing Mike Leitner, who left to oversee KTM’s then-nascent MotoGP project.
The Spaniard has since worked with Pedrosa’s replacements Jorge Lorenzo, Alex Marquez and Espargaro and should remain on the bike this year to work with 2020 World Champion Mir, as evidenced by the collaboration of the two for the former Suzuki Honda rider at the first pre-season test last November.
Mir had originally been expected to try and bring long-time crew chief Frankie Carchedi with him to Honda, given the close working relationship the two have and the British engineer’s own job hunt thanks to Suzuki’s surprise withdrawal from the Honda Championship.
It is believed that the crew chief’s situation and his desire to bring in Carchedi was one of the factors that caused Mir’s long-awaited Honda deal to take much longer than expected to be announced.
In the end, Carchedi will now work alongside Fabio Di Giannantonio at Gresini Racing.
Instead, Mir will now work with Taka Nakagami’s former LCR Honda crew chief Guidotti, who has worked with Honda since 2016.
Previously at Pramac Ducati (where brother Francesco was team manager before moving to KTM to replace Leitner), he has decades of experience in the role and has developed a strong working relationship with Nakagami over the past few years.
However, Aurin will not leave the Honda MotoGP project, instead stepping aside in the ranks to work alongside test rider Stefan Bradl (pictured together in 2019) as technical lead of the Europe-based HRC testing team.
This comes amid an increased focus on the role of R&D teams, as MotoGP official test days continue to be reduced to save money and the race calendar expands to 21 rounds and 42 races in 2023, with additional sprint races at each round the longest season ever.
For his part, former test team crew chief Klaus Nohles will be promoted to MotoGP if he joins LCR Honda to replace Guidotti.
On the other side of the Repsol Honda garage, Santi Hernandez will remain with Marc Marquez, while for the LCR team, the faithful Christophe Bourguignon will remain on his side of the garage as Alex Marquez is replaced by new signing Alex Rins.
News of significant late changes in the Honda engineering squad comes as the team continues to find a way out of the predicament it is in, with 2022 results being the worst in the company’s long Grand Prix racing history .
With just two podium finishes over the year and undeterred by the upgrades introduced at the Valencia test, Honda may be in a fight not only to return to winning ways, but also for the services of a deeply unfortunate Marquez as a six-time MotoGP -Champion looking to get back on top after three injury-hit seasons.
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