Marc Marquez has stunned the MotoGP paddock by firmly quashing any rumours over his future intentions with an unprecedented four-year deal that keeps him at Honda until at least 2024.
The new contract was announced on Thursday morning ahead of the final pre-season test of 2020, with the eight-time world champion now secure at Honda as he sets out to beat just about every record in the books.
The deal is the longest contractual commitment Marquez has made so far, and extremely unusual in a paddock that has a pattern of two-year contracts for its major players.
Surrounded by a fiercely loyal team and with his brother Alex joining him on the other side of the garage for the coming season, Marc said the decision to extend with the team was an easy one.
“I am very proud to announce my renewal with Honda Racing Corporation for the next four years,” he said.
“Honda gave me the opportunity to arrive in the MotoGP class with a factory bike in 2013.
“Since the first year we have achieved success together and I am very happy to continue being part of the Honda family.
“HRC gives me the confidence to extend this partnership to obtain our common goal and continue our story of success.”
The announcement also likely spells good news for Alex’s future, as although it’s believed Marc didn’t get directly involved in the late decision to replace Jorge Lorenzo with him, his unspoken influence no doubt played a role in the reigning Moto2 world champion securing a factory ride at the eleventh hour.
It also spells a blow for Honda’s rivals, as Marquez’s incredible dominance looks set to continue. He is now Honda’s most successful premier class rider ever, and Ducati in particular is believed to have been interested in poaching the 56-time MotoGP race winner away.
The move could lead to changes in Honda’s lower ranks, however.
Marquez is acknowledged even by his peers as almost superhuman in what he can achieve on a bike, and has steered Honda’s development direction towards a machine that seemingly only he can be consistently fast on.
That – and the hard to ride reputation it has given the RV213V – could prove a restriction to Honda signing up young riders to eventually replace him.