Marquez-to-Gresini-Ducati frenzy consumes MotoGP paddock

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

The prospect of Marc Marquez making a sensational Honda exit in 2024 in order to ride a satellite Ducati caused a huge stir in the paddock as MotoGP arrived for its San Marino Grand Prix weekend at Misano.

Marquez, who has won six MotoGP championships with Honda, currently races under a big-money four-year deal that covers 2021-to-2024.

But this year’s largely uncompetitive and, more pertinently, massively unpredictable Honda RC213V has continued to cast a long shadow over the prospect of Marquez actually seeing out that contract – even though rivals like Ducati and KTM have consistently played down their interest in trying to extricate the MotoGP legend from his current deal.

Honda’s position, however, has been that Marquez will be allowed to leave if his mind is set on doing so – although that public position naturally doesn’t cover off the financial concessions that would need to be made to break said contract, with it widely speculated that Marquez would need not to just forfeit his 2024 salary but pay a very considerable break clause.

Yet while Marquez himself has been publicly coy on leaving, coming into Misano he suddenly started to drop huge, surprisingly playful hints about his MotoGP plans.

He first told Spanish TV channel DAZN that he already knew where he would be riding in 2024 – normally a completely innocuous claim for somebody under contract, but one that represented a step forward in terms of what Marquez had been willing to publicly say before.

Then, on Thursday, he posted a cryptic social media post with the words “están pasando cosas” – “things are happening” – much to the enjoyment of fellow MotoGP champion Fabio Quartararo.

And while his answers about his future when addressing the print media the same day were coy, they were tellingly coy.

Marquez said the post-race test at Misano next week was “not crucial” to his future.

“For me the most important thing on Monday’s test is to try the 2024 bike and give to the engineers the best inputs and the best direction for the future,” he said.

This then prompted the following exchange between him and Dutch journalist Frank Weeink.

FW: But you’ve made your decision?

MM: I have a contract next year with Honda.

FW: And that’s your decision?

MM: I have a contract next year with Honda.

Also on Thursday, the possibility of Marquez riding for Gresini was described as gaining serious traction by Spain’s AS newspaper – and then as being all but finalised by the German-language Speedweek, though some in the Spanish media, namely Marca and Spain, have poured cold water on the idea that the move is that far advanced.

There is doubt over whether how keen Ducati would be on having Marquez, a legend but a potentially disruptive on-track presence and ‘centre of gravity’, within its rider ranks given the current harmony. And the hints dropped by Marquez this week seem out of alignment, if he really is leaving, with how careful Marquez has been about in terms of his public rhetoric surrounding the Honda project in the past.


There is also, of course, a question of funding, with the likes of Honda backers Repsol and Red Bull having a potential part to play in how the situation unfolds.

Should the bombshell move come to fruition, Marquez would replace Fabio Di Giannantonio at Gresini, meaning he would be on a year-old Ducati.

But older-spec Ducatis have been an extremely potent force in MotoGP these last couple of years, allowing the likes of Enea Bastianini (at Gresini) last year and Marco Bezzecchi (at VR46) this year to establish themselves as regular frontrunners and multiple race winners.

A Marc Marquez/Gresini deal would also mean that he would team up with brother Alex Marquez. They were already team-mates in the factory Honda team in 2020, but Marquez spent all but the first race of that season on the sidelines following his arm break and rushed return.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks