Penultimate push as Repsol Honda Team chase Team Championship

The flyaways draw to a close and the end of the season is fast approaching, but the Triple Crown is still wide open.

First hosting a Grand Prix in 1999, the Sepang International Circuit has been a constant fixture on the MotoGP World Championship calendar for both racing and testing. The 5.5km long Malaysian circuit is a physically demanding challenge no matter the conditions, air temperature rarely dropping below 30ºC even when the tropical storms hit.

Hunting a sixth straight Grand Prix victory in 2019 and his third at Sepang, Marc Marquez arrives in Malaysia in perfect form as he continues to dominate the premier class. Currently on 375 World Championship points, the Malaysian GP present the reigning MotoGP World Champion with his first opportunity to pass Jorge Lorenzo’s record of 383 points scored in a single season. As in Australia, Marquez is aware he’ll face a strong challenge from Yamaha and Ducati.

Lorenzo arrives in Malaysia hoping for better fortunes after a trying weekend in Phillip Island. Struggling in the cooler conditions, Sepang’s heat should offer Lorenzo a chance to continue improving his feeling on the Honda RC213V. The five-time World Champion has finished on the premier class podium seven times in Malaysia.

Just a single point separates the Ducati Team (409) from the Repsol Honda Team (408) in the Team Championship as Honda look to complete the prestigious Triple Crown. With both the Riders and a record 25th Constructors Championships achieved, the Team Championship is final objective to achieve in 2019.

Practice for the premier class begins at 10:50 Local Time on Friday, November 01 with the 20-lap Malaysian Grand Prix scheduled for 15:00 Local Time on Sunday, November 03.

The Lawnmower King of Leicester City

Forty one years ago, the HR21 was launched in August 1978 and received rave reviews from the industry and its many users for its fantastic performance and reliability. Today, we have over 15 models available, with a world-beating range of engines and features.

Honda UK recently spoke to John Ledwidge, the grounds manager at Leicester City FC and the man behind some of the most famous pitch designs in Premier League football. As the head of a team of groundsmen who cut the pitch at Leicester up to five times a day, he knows a thing or two about lawnmowers.

Honda: What first inspired you to become a groundsman? 

LEDWIDGE: When I was 13 years old I had the dream of being a footballer, like most 13-year-old kids. I just wanted to get onto the pitch where my heroes play so I wrote a letter to the groundsman of Coventry City, got a job working in the summer holidays with him, and fell in love with the job. I was a straight-A student at school but left knowing exactly what I wanted to do, which was to be a groundsman.

How many times do you cut the pitch at Leicester over the week? 

At this time of year we’ll cut the pitch between three and five times a day. But it’s not just the pitch at the stadium; there are seven more pitches at the training facility, so it’s quite a large operation. We spend a lot of money to create consistency of pitch across the training ground and the stadium, because the players need to train on a similar pitch to what they play on at the weekend. It’s really important they have the same standard of pitch.

What do you do when the match is actually on? 

There’s nothing we can do to the pitch, so I either catch up on a bit of work or watch the match. The rest of the ground staff will be watching the game – mostly to see what’s happening with the pitch rather than the football, which is a bit sad!


What are the best bits of your job? 

Building the department here from the ground up has been a definite highlight. We’ve gone from six staff to 14 and have implemented a lot of structure. We’re also building a new training ground. But being on the pitch on match day, just before kick-off, is a privileged place to be. It’s as close as you can get to being a player without actually being a player. Being there when they come out of the tunnel, having that experience of being there in the match environment is something that we all look forward to. Everyone loves match days.

Do you use Honda mowers at Leicester City?

Yes, we’ve got a fleet of them. They’re the mower of choice for most Premier League clubs, not necessarily for the day-to-day cutting, but certainly using them to ‘clean up’ the pitch. After every game there will be an army of people using Honda mowers to clear up all the loose debris that’s kicked up during a game. We use the Honda 21-inch mower with the rear rollers. You’ll see them being used at most clubs.

Why do you prefer Honda mowers?

It’s for their efficiency and reliability. They have a well-refined engine that’s simple to work on. We have a head mechanic here and he doesn’t need to be working on them all the time. They’re not breaking down or causing us too many issues, which is important for an operation our size. Having a constant stream of mowers breaking down would set us back a lot in time and money, so that efficiency is very important.

How many Honda mowers do you have?

We have 18 Honda mowers in our fleet, and the mowers that aren’t Honda have Honda engines in them. They’re one of the most efficient petrol engines you can get.

You use pedestrian mowers rather than the ride-ons. Why do you prefer to use ones you walk with?

It’s all about the transfer of weight across the ground. The demand for pitch quality is so high at this level and we find that the finish we get with pedestrian mowers is better than the ride-ons. There’s a lot more weight put on the pitch with a ride-on than with a pedestrian machine, which doesn’t give as smooth a finish.

Have you got any ideas for new pitch designs for this season? 

We’re not allowed. The Premier League have stopped us doing them. They wanted to get more into line with FIFA and UEFA, who are very strict on that kind of thing. It’s a shame.

What’s your own lawn like at home? 

Awful! It’s terrible. We’re on a new estate and the lawns are slapped on whatever’s left after the house is built. I’ll have to dig the whole thing up and start again. It’s definitely not my centrepiece.

Is there a secret to growing a great lawn? 

It’s good horticultural practice – making sure that your lawn is fed and watered well, and at the right times. And make sure it’s cut regularly when it’s growing. It’s simple: grass is a very resilient thing and it’ll reward you if you treat it right.


Source: Honda Engine Room

Unstoppable Marquez equals Doohan as most successful Honda rider

A tenth win of 2019 for Marc Marquez wrapped up the Constructors Championship for Honda after an inch-perfect ride in Japan.

Victory for Marc Marquez at Honda’s home round in Motegi earned Honda the Premier Class Constructors Championship for a record 25th time. As a result, Honda claim both the Riders and Constructors Championships in the same year for the 20th occasion as they celebrate the 60th Anniversary of competition. It also marks Honda’s 70th Constructors Championship across all classes.

Launching perfectly off the line, Marc Marquez went around the outside of his competition to lead through the first corner. Fabio Quartararo tried to respond to the pace of the eight-time World Champion, but within just three laps Marquez had an advantage of over one second and followed it up with successive flying laps. By lap 13 the gap had grown to two seconds and the reigning World Champion switched his attention to managing the race. Crossing the line 0.870s ahead of Quartararo after easing his pace in the closing laps, the Repsol Honda Team rider continued his perfect record of top-two finishes in 2019. The victory is the tenth 2019 and his fourth in a row, the first time Marquez has achieved four-straight wins in the premier class since 2014.


Taking his 54th win in the premier class, Marc Marquez draws level with the legendary Mick Doohan as the most successful premier class Honda rider. The 14 podiums, 13 of them in succession, of 2019 also move Marc Marquez to 350 World Championship points, just 33 points shy of Jorge Lorenzo’s all-time premier class points record of 383 with 75 points still to play for.

Making his 200th premier class start, Jorge Lorenzo battled through a difficult start to the Japanese GP. Lorenzo crossed the line in 17th position and while not satisfied with the result, is pleased with his improved feeling and pace aboard the Honda RC213V in the closing laps. The finish saw Lorenzo reduce the margin between himself and the race winner to its smallest margin since his return from injury – a trend he will look to continue at Phillip Island in just a week’s time.

The MotoGP World Championship now heads directly to round 17, the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island from October 25 to 27.

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Marquez pots the #8ball with incredible last corner win in Thailand

Marc Marquez was crowned the 2019 MotoGP World Champion in the only way he knows how: with a thrilling race win delivered at the final corner.

A full house at the Buriram Circuit were treated to an edge of their seats MotoGP race as they witnessed Marc Marquez crowned World Champion for the eighth time. From the front of the grid, Marquez charged forward and immediately began to chase pole setter Fabio Quartararo. With his only title rival, Andrea Dovizioso, a distant fourth Marquez was able to focus solely on the race win.

After trading fastest laps, the pair settled into their rhythm and Marquez waited for his moment to attack. The final laps were explosive as the 2019 MotoGP World Champion launched an all out assault on the young French rider, moving ahead as the last lap began. But it would go down to the final corner, Marquez expertly defending from Quartararo in the last corner to take the 2019 MotoGP World Championship in style.

With 325 points, nine wins, 14 podiums, nine poles and 10 fastest laps – Marc Marquez becomes the MotoGP World Champion alongside the Repsol Honda Team for the sixth time and takes the eighth World Championship of his career. The victory is also Honda’s 150th in the MotoGP class – an achievement no other manufacturer has been able to match.

Jorge Lorenzo suffered a difficult race, unable to improve his feeling in the hotter conditions. Ultimately crossing the line in 18th, Lorenzo is looking ahead to the next race in Japan where he hopes to improve his current feeling and results.