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Janaki Jitchotvisut

Watch Marc Marquez, Max Verstappen, Toni Bou, And More Race Go-Karts

Say the words “Honda Racing Corporation,” and the racers that come to mind will vary widely, depending on what motorsports you enjoy. One thing that’s cool about HRC having teams that race across multiple disciplines is events like Honda Thanks Day 2022 at the Motegi circuit in Japan. It’s an event packed full of Honda’s professional racers, from both two- and four-wheeled series, all coming together to race go-karts. 

Where else can you see six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez team up with reigning (and two-time) Formula One world champion Max Verstappen? Other racers on the grid include Toni Bou, Adrian van Beveren, Tim Gajser, Ricky Brabec, Takuma Sato, Pierre Gasly, Yuki Tsunoda, Sergio Perez, and more.  

For fans of international motorsports, events like this are a lot of fun, because you get to see a bunch of racers get together in vehicles that none of them currently race competitively—and interacting in ways they might never otherwise interact. If you or I go to a go-kart track, for example, I’m sure we’ll feel competitive—but what must it be like if you’re a professional racer, and you know the rest of the field is, too? 

Each team is made up of two racers, and the deal is that one racer qualifies and runs the first five laps of a 10-lap race. Midway through, each kart pits and swaps drivers. It seems that the teams are all comprised of one two-wheeled racer and one four-wheeled racer, probably to keep things relatively even. It also seems that the first driver of each team’s kart is the motorcycle racer on each team, with the car racer hopping in the car second to complete the challenge. 

Qualifying seems to be the first time that the motorcycle racers have experienced this circuit, so we get to see them familiarizing themselves with the layout as they run their qualifying laps. Tim Gajser ends up on pole, when all is said and done—but Marc Marquez is close behind, almost as soon as the race starts. In fact, the battle for first, second, and third is quite strong and fun to watch during the opening laps of the race. (If you’re wondering whether Marquez bulldozes his way past his competition in a kart, just like he’s become infamous for on a bike—the answer is yes.) 

All in all, it’s a short but fun race to watch. When Marquez pulls into the pit so that Verstappen can have his turn, Marquez even pushes Verstappen’s kart down the pit lane, toward the exit onto the track—trying to maintain every little bit of the speed advantage that he’d amassed before pulling into the pit for the driver swap in the first place. 

At the end, it seems like all the racers had a good time—and whether that’s real or media training, we certainly can’t tell you. It looks like a lot of fun, and probably even better to see in person. 

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