Marc Marquez flirts with possible Gresini Ducati 2024 MotoGP switch
The speculation, which in recent weeks was labelled as a rumour, has kicked up a gear on Thursday at the San Marino Grand Prix, with some media outlets even writing that Marquez has already decided to quit his Honda contract a year early.
Speedweek, a Red Bull-owned publication, claimed that Marquez will join Gresini with his brother, Alex, as team-mate, and with the energy drink brand as one of the main sponsors.
The possibility of Marquez ending up in the Faenza-based team is real, and that’s not new. But Motorsport.com understands that it is much more complicated to get this deal over the line.
Neither Repsol nor Estrella Galicia, the other two brands that accompany Marquez, have agreed escape clauses with Honda.
Marquez has asked the Japanese manufacturer to present him with a plan for hiring technical specialists in the key areas of today’s bikes (aerodynamics, electronics), and Alberto Puig is working on that list.
The ex-racer has a week to convince those he thinks are the best additions and, once the list is ready, he will present it to Marquez.
Neither the eight-time world champion, nor those responsible for HRC, are confident that the RC213V prototype that the Catalan will test on Monday at Misano, and which is the basis of the 2024 prototype, will represent the change of concept that he has been demanding for some time.
In fact, the engine of that bike will not be different from the one that has been used on the bikes so far this season.
That same 2024 machine is the one that Stefan Bradl, the brand’s tester, will be riding as early as Friday.
Could both Marquez brothers be at Gresini squad in 2024?
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Asked directly about the possibility of breaking the agreement with HRC, Marquez continued to flirt with his future alternatives, but without commitment.
“I have not touched this subject with Honda; I think it would not be good for the project right now,” he replied, underlining “the project” on several occasions, but without stating whether he will be part of it.
“My mentality with Honda is constructive, to look for the best for the project and the best thing now is to continue united, working.
“And I think they interpret it the same way because they haven’t said anything to me,” added the rider, who was then asked to offer his point of view on Gresini.
“It’s a team with a lot of history; with bikes that go very well, in which my brother has found his perfect place,” Marc said of Alex.
Asked about the possibility of his brother joining him at Gresini Ducati in 2024, Alex Marquez stated to Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview that he thought it would be tough for Marc to break his contract with Honda – while also noting that adapting to the Ducati would not be easy.
“I think to speak about this is like the rumours that we have,” Alex Marquez said. “Three, four races ago, he was going to be on a KTM. You know what I mean? Now he’s on a Ducati ‘for sure’. We will see.
“There are many rumours about Marc, [Joan] Mir. But they have contracts. So, this is really difficult to extract [from].
“I will go for the possibility to maybe have Augusto [Fernandez] here or something like that, more than Mir or Marc, because I think to break a contract in MotoGP, I know that it’s really difficult.
“So, honestly speaking, if he comes to Ducati, he will be fast. He’s Marc, he’s eight times world champion.
“He didn’t lose the speed. We saw it in Q1 in Montmelo. But it will not be easy, he will need time for sure.”
Additional reporting by Lewis Duncan