It was an open secret. Marc Márquez will get on a Ducati in 2024. After having announced the termination of his contract with Honda, the brand of his life, last week. Team Gresini Racing, one of the most successful independent teams in the World Championship, announced this Thursday, at the gates of the Indonesian GP, the incorporation of the driver from Cervera (Lleida). Márquez signs a single-season contract. At 30 years old, the eight-time world champion will begin a new stage with the intention of recovering his smile on the bike and competing for the title again.
“I am excited about this new challenge. It has not been an easy decision because it is a big change in every way. But sometimes in life it is important to get out of the comfort zone and test yourself to continue growing,” says Márquez himself in the statement from his new team. “As for the bike, I know I will have to adapt my riding style to some things, and it won’t be easy. But I am also sure that the entire Gresini team will help me a lot,” he adds.
Márquez shed tears the day he announced the final separation, which will take place at the end of the season, in November. He then exchanged several cell phone messages with his confidants on the circuit. He acknowledged Alberto Puig, sports director of Repsol Honda, that he made the decision following reason, not his heart. “It has been the most difficult decision of my life,” he wrote to her. The rider understood that the risks of staying in the official team of the golden wing brand were greater than betting on a satellite team that may not even have the most advanced Ducati technology. By contract, the 93 will race with the Desmosedici GP23 that today is dominated by Pecco Bagnaia and Jorge Martín, the main candidates for the title. His hypothetical main rivals, on the other hand, will pilot the prototype that the brand is already finalizing for 2024.
Arrival in Gresini represents a notable leap into the void for the Catalan. By leaving the Japanese factory he will not only leave the only motorcycle he has known in his eleven seasons in MotoGP, but he will also give up having his “bunker” – as he calls the technical and human group that has accompanied him in his 59 victories and six titles in the premier class – inside the garage. “My team at heart will always be you, the same people as always,” he added in his farewell correspondence. He will no longer be inside the garage Santi Hernández, his technical chief and confidant, who has accompanied him since his victories in Moto2. Neither did Carlos Griñán, Jordi Castellá and Xavi Ortiz, the senior staff of his group of mechanics. Márquez did not have room for maneuver or much negotiating power, and his new team had already closed contracts with the current group that works with Fabio Di Giannantonio, which ends his relationship with Gresini.
The main friendly face in Gresini, then, will be that of his brother Álex, with whom he already shared a garage in 2021. The experience of the youngest of the family within the Faenza structure has been an important point of support for Márquez’s decision, who also analyzed the possibility of joining KTM. The move towards the Austrian brand may come in 2025, when the driver will have absolute freedom and plenty of time to negotiate his future.
The hiring of the Catalan is an important boost for the independent team, which in recent weeks had the support of Gigi Dall’Igna, Ducati’s head of sports. “The operation is all thanks to Gresini, they are the ones who took it, not Ducati,” said the engineer and guru of the Bologna brand in an interview with ‘La Gazzetta dello Sport’. “I have spoken with Marc about many things, but I want to reiterate one thing, this is not my idea. It is the team that has decided to reach an agreement with the driver. Obviously, I’m happy to see riders who do well on my bikes.” The Italian said he is not worried about the secrets that Márquez may take to another factory in the future.
Nadia Padovani, widow of the Italian champion Fausto Gresini, commands an experienced team that has accumulated 18 victories and 63 podiums in the MotoGP era. Despite the economic difficulties caused by covid-19, which claimed its founder in 2021, the team demonstrated in 2022 that it was completely right with the agreement signed with Ducati after years of collaboration with Honda. With the Bologna manufacturer’s outdated machinery, they managed to win four races with Enea Bastianini in 2022, and this year Álex Márquez made his debut as a winner in MotoGP with a sprint victory. Since its founding in 1997, Gresini has won four titles in the intermediate categories and three runners-up in the premier category.
“This is a historic moment for the Gresini family. The fact that Marc Márquez has chosen to race with us next season is absolutely fantastic and I am very happy to be able to make it official. In less than a season we have become very close to his brother, and we will welcome Marc in the same way, since we are sure that he has all the potential to be competitive in the GP23 from the first moment,” he indicates. Padovani in the note.
Marc’s hope is that in recent years it has been shown that a talented rider is capable of scoring victories with Gresini, despite not having the latest developments on the factory bike. The private team is the last team in the Ducati universe behind the official team, Pramac and Valentino Rossi’s VR46. After years away from the fight for wins and the championship due to injuries and the lack of performance of the Honda, the jump to Ducati gives Márquez the opportunity to have a machine designed to fight for the front positions every time. weekend.
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