The tests that close the previous season and open the upcoming one are always a moment of great interest. There are often new prototypes to admire, or riders who change teams and have to become familiar with a new bike for the first time. However, this year in Valencia, the attention was undoubtedly higher than in the past, because Marc Marquez was going to ride for the first time on Gresini’s Ducati, after having left Honda HRC.
Similar attention was given to Valentino Rossi in 2003 when he bade farewell to Honda for Yamaha but, on that occasion, they only first met in Sepang, because Honda forbade Rossi to try the M1 before the end of 2003. It was different when Rossi debuted with Ducati at the end of 2010 in Valencia. Even in that circumstance, the media attention was very high. Everyone was curious to see what the Doctor would be able to do with the Desmosedici, and everyone was quite shocked when they saw Valentino’s times on that bike, while they watched Casey Stoner fly with the Honda.
Fast forward: the last great debut that was followed in a spasmodic manner was perhaps Jorge Lorenzo’s on the Ducati at the end of 2016. Jorge was quite fast on the flying lap, but he said that it would be impossible with that bike for him to win like he had done in Valencia his last time on the Yamaha M1. Then Jorge won with Ducati, but in 2017, and, unfortunately, out of maximum time.
But let’s return to the present, to Marc Marquez’s first laps on a bike that undoubtedly gave him more than a smile. A debut that made all his opponents tremble. Here are all the images.