Is Marc Marquez the right choice?

The Ducati saga has now reached its climax. Marc Marquez will compete alongside Francesco Bagnaia in the Ducati factory team in 2025. Jorge Martin once again draws the short straw and flees to MotoGP rival Aprilia. We take a closer look at the Ducati decision. Is Marc Marquez the right choice?

The starting point: Ducati’s luxury problem

First of all, we need to understand the situation Ducati was in. They already have an exceptional talent in Francesco Bagnaia, a two-time MotoGP world champion, an Italian on their own bike who is winning titles. The fact that Bagnaia is the undisputed number one of the Desmosedicis is made clear by his new contract, which was extended before the season.

Francesco Bagnaia is set to remain number 1 in the Ducati team, Photo: LAT Images
Francesco Bagnaia is set to remain number 1 in the Ducati team, Photo: LAT Images

Now the Tifosi were faced with the task of filling the second place in the factory team. Three names were seriously considered: Enea Bastianini, who is currently the ‘perfect’ team-mate because he is consistently achieving good results without endangering Bagnaia’s success. However, there are also Jorge Martin and Marc Marquez, who are taking the edge off Bastianini in the customer team and even shaking up Bagnaia’s throne. Bastianini was therefore eliminated early as a future team-mate for ‘Pecco’. Martin and Marquez both played high stakes and put the gun to Ducati’s head. ‘Factory team or nothing’ was the demand of both drivers. The plan to promote Martin and equip Marquez with identical material at Pramac failed. Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali and Co. had to make an unpleasant decision.

What spoke for Martin: The results

The fact that Jorge Martin has not received a factory contract with the Red Team after his performances in the 2023 season and the World Championship lead he currently holds is unique and will probably not happen again – at least not so soon. Martin is certainly one of the pilots to beat in the next few years. He is a complete pilot and is the ultimate in all disciplines. Be it a fast lap in qualifying, the sprint race or the full distance in the Grand Prix – the ‘Martinator’ has no weaknesses and makes few mistakes. The 26-year-old is made for modern MotoGP. He and Bagnaia could have formed the duo in the factory team for many years. From a sporting perspective, there were no good reasons to deny him the factory place.

MotoGP: Marquez gets factory Ducati, Martin goes to Aprilia (04:30 min.)

On the other side is none other than Marc Marquez. He is one of the most successful riders in history, has already won 85 Grands Prix and eight world championship titles under his belt. Even in 2024, his physical fitness, commitment and talent cannot be denied – Marquez is still one of the best MotoGP riders, as evidenced by his impressive comebacks in Le Mans and Barcelona, ​​when he drove from starting positions outside the top ten to the podium. But Marquez comes from a different era, he sometimes has problems adapting to modern MotoGP and delivering top performances on Friday or Saturday morning. He is also 31 years old and is probably gradually entering the autumn of his career.

As I said, Marquez is in top shape and if he wants to, he will be able to race at the highest level for a long time to come. But that is precisely where the risk lies for Ducati. You cannot simply assume that the Spaniard will still be racing in MotoGP at the age of 35, 38 or 40, as Valentino Rossi did, for example.

What speaks for Marquez: The marketing

But there are also points that clearly speak in Marc Marquez’s favor. Points that ultimately made the difference and convinced the Ducati bosses. Marquez is the face of MotoGP, he is the most popular rider, draws the most spectators to the track, sells the most merchandise and is therefore the darling of all partners and sponsors. The economic aspect of marketing cannot be neglected. After all, manufacturers basically take part in motorsport events to sell more of their bikes. And no other rider has such a strong advertising impact as the eight-time world champion.

Marc Marquez - a crowd magnet, Photo: LAT Images
Marc Marquez – a crowd magnet, Photo: LAT Images

Of course, there are always hurdles that need to be overcome with the partners and sponsors of the riders and teams. Marc Marquez is, for example, a brand ambassador for Red Bull, Samsung and Estrella Galicia, among others. All three companies are in direct competition with Ducati partners. There are therefore many details to be clarified in the deal between the Borgo Panigale factory and the Madrid-based rider.

Conclusion: No decision against Martin

So has Ducati made the right choice? This question cannot be answered (yet). Martin and Marquez both have the potential to become world champion with Ducati. Marquez brings in more sponsorship money for the factory, while Martin is much younger and still has a long career ahead of him. No matter who Gigi Dall’igna & Co. had chosen, they would have lost the other to the competition.

The departure of Jorge Martins will certainly hurt the Ducati leadership. Nevertheless, they are ideally positioned in 2025 with the strongest rider pairing of Francesco Bagnaia and Marc Marquez.

What do you think Ducati should have decided? Let us know your opinion in the comments!

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