In Nakagami and Marquez, LCR Honda could offer much excitement in 2021

As the satellite team, LCR Honda may be expected to play the role of the younger sibling. But if last season was anything to go by this group is perfectly comfortable to step out of the shadow of their factory counterpart and lead the way for the constructor.

In what proved to be a woeful 2020 season for Repsol Honda, largely owing to star man Marc Marquez effectively missing the entire year through injury, it was LCR who flew the flag by finishing higher in the team standings -- even if 8th place was not much to shout about.

A driving force behind their success was Takaaki Nakagami's consistency -- the rider claimed points in all but two Grands Prix last term when he was forced to retire.

It was in one of those two ill-fated races, the Teruel Grand Prix, where fan favorite Nakagami looked to finally land his first podium placing after claiming pole position. He soon crashed out on the first lap after what he later described as a "stupid mistake."

Now 29, Nakagami's strong displays will see him receive factory-spec machinery from this year, which could put him in an even stronger position to finally end his podium drought during his fifth year in the premier class.

He will be joined this season by Alex Marquez, the younger brother of six-time premier class world champion Marc.

Alex Marquez certainly had his struggles in his rookie season last year, especially after he effectively became the factory team's lead rider from the opening round after Marc suffered a campaign-ending injury.

With less pressure on his shoulders, and still only 24 years old, he could be just starting to show his full potential with the Honda satellite outfit.

What they said

Takaaki Nakagami: "Last season was a good year for me. You can see we made a step [up] from 2019 but still we couldn't get any podiums or win a race. We definitely need more success this season and get more consistent results.

"Our team has great potential. I believe we can fight for the championship and hopefully in the first race in Qatar, we can get our first podium to try and make it a good start to the season and have the consistency to stay in the top three or top five."

Alex Marquez: "This year, I've had much better preparation -- a more clear idea what I need to improve, what I need to focus most. I'm feeling so great.

"Honestly, I think I need to focus a lot in the qualifying 00 this is the main target for the season. In the race, we always have good pace but just in quali[fying] we're too slow and we need to improve to have a better position on the grid."

As the lights go out...

"The only man to have ever won a race for LCR Honda in their entire premier class history has been Cal Crutchlow, and without him in the team this year, the satellite outfit face a much tougher task," says FOX Sports Asia MotoGP presenter Edward Russell.

"Taka Nakagami is still without a MotoGP podium and he will need to get that monkey off his back this year as he now becomes the senior rider in the team. Otherwise, Alex Marquez could well soon become LCR's main man.

"The Spaniard had a standout couple of races last year at Le Mans and Aragon, with two back-to-back podiums, and now without the pressure of having to prove himself and justify his spot in the factory team, he's in a great position to push on and take that first race victory this time around. "

2021 will be a success if: Although Repsol Honda are expected to mount a resurgence with the impending return of Marc Marquez and the arrival of Pol Espargaro, that should not mean that LCR Team should settle for playing second fiddle once again -- especially after what they showed last season.

Nakagami certainly deserves to find himself standing on a premier class MotoGP podium and display enough speed last term to suggest he could even challenge for a race win. If he -- or Alex Marquez -- does just that, LCR Team will have plenty to cheer about.