2023, just before the end of his MotoGP career!

How much can change within 12 months! In mid-June 2023, Marc Marquez experienced one of the toughest race weekends of his MotoGP career so far, when he crashed five times at the beloved Sachsenring and probably finally had to realize that his glory days with the Honda RC213V were finally over. Just about a year later, on June 5, 2024, he was officially introduced as a future Ducati factory rider. The preliminary climax of an incomparable comeback story.

“I am incredibly happy and grateful that Ducati chose me. A year ago I was damn close to saying that this was the end of my career,” Marquez recalled on the media Thursday before the MotoGP classic in Assen, from which he had been injured and had to withdraw early last summer – identical to the German Grand Prix a week earlier. “Luckily, the summer break came and I was able to recharge my batteries and let my body recover. That made me decide in a different direction.”

Marc Marquez moves to Ducati: Consequences for the entire MotoGP (07:40 min.)

Marc Marquez finds his old strength again at Gresini Racing

The story is well known: After the Misano test in September, where Marquez was once again disappointed by the new Honda prototype, he agreed with his long-time employer HRC to terminate his contract early so that he could instead switch to Gresini Racing and thus to a previous year’s Ducati. The sensational transfer was officially confirmed at the beginning of October. A final attempt by the former MotoGP dominator to prove to himself that he is still one of the best motorcycle racers in the world.

Marquez couldn’t have imagined what happened next any better. After his first ride on the Ducati Desmosedici GP23, he had already found his smile again. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Honda again for understanding my situation and letting me go to Gresini. There I immediately felt that I could rebuild my confidence with this bike and the atmosphere in the team there was just perfect for me to become the rider I thought I had already lost,” said the man with the starting number 93, highlighting the importance of his move to the traditional Italian family team Gresini Racing.

Marc Marquez had a big grin on his face after his Ducati debut, Photo: Motogp.com/Screenshot
Marc Marquez had a big grin on his face after his Ducati debut, Photo: Motogp.com/Screenshot

From the first race weekend of the 2024 season in Qatar, Marquez was once again one of the top riders, narrowly missing out on his first MotoGP victory since November 2021 several times. Nevertheless, after just seven race weekends on a previous year’s machine, he was able to convince the Ducati officials so much that they decided against the current world championship leader Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini because of him. A fact that fills the Spaniard with great pride: “I did my best and became one of the contenders, which alone was a great honor for me. On Sunday night in Mugello, they informed me that they had chosen me. Then we finalized the contract within two days and announced it on Wednesday.”

At first it didn’t work out at all, as according to a report in the Italian ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’ before the Mugello weekend, Martin was considered the favorite for the second Ducati factory place. However, as Marquez did not want to switch to Pramac Ducati, those in charge in Borgo Panigale had to change their plans. “I was relatively clear about what I wanted,” says Marquez, looking back on the developments of the last few months. “I wanted a current motorcycle, either with Gresini or in the factory team. The fact that they are now bringing me into the factory team obviously makes me even happier, because that is the goal of every rider. I will give 100 percent there and defend the red colors with the greatest possible effort.”

Francesco Bagnaia cool: Wants to beat Marc Marquez too

The factory team remains a good keyword, because from 2025 Marquez will be facing the reigning world champion Francesco Bagnaia. However, the latter deliberately stayed out of the decision as to who his new teammate will be in the future. “I wanted to concentrate solely on the race track,” said the Italian on Thursday. “It was more or less the same situation anyway. Both are damn fast. Jorge maybe a little more at the moment because he already has more experience. Basically, they are not that different in terms of speed. This will be a new challenge for me. A new teammate that I want to beat. It will definitely be fun. Marc is a clever guy. He already knows how to fit into our team in the best possible way to make us even stronger.”

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