There were great expectations for Marc Marquez’s debut on the Gresini team’s Ducati, and the eight-time World Champion didn’t betray those expectations, as he placed himself among the fastest riders during the Valencia test day. A start that suggests the immense potential the Catalan rider could express in the upcoming MotoGP season, for which many already see him as a favorite for the World Championship victory.
Jorge Lorenzo was also there to support Marc. He spoke about his switching teams in an interview with our colleagues at As: “It’s fantastic for him, on a sporting and entertainment level. Unfortunately, however, he had to give up a contract that has never been seen before and will probably never be seen again in the history of the MotoGP. Four years, and everything that it brought him in economic terms,” the five-time world champion said. “It won’t be easy. But, if I had to bet, I'd bet on him to win the championship.”
Facing so many fierce opponents won’t make the task easy for Marc, but Lorenzo is sure that the 2024 title is within his reach.
“I think that facing riders who are familiar with the Ducati and are younger than him will complicate things a bit,” he admitted. “If he isn’t unlucky. Just look at what his brother Alex did. Although he’s made a lot of progress in the MotoGP, and has approached his brother’s level, he doesn’t have his magic and talent. If Alex managed to do what he did this year, why shouldn’t Marc be able to win a lot of races?”
Losing the eight-time world championship will be a hard blow to cushion for Honda, now that it has to raise its fortunes after going through some of the worst years in its history.
“If you lose your patience, you sink into this situation… you don’t get out of it. You have to be very patient, with the Japanese philosophy of ‘kaizen’, (ed. continuous improvement) and gradually put together the pieces of the puzzle, in order to return to having a competitive bike-rider pairing. But, right now, Ducati has the best bikes and riders, so it’ll be difficult to beat them,” the rider from Mallorca stated, convinced that an experienced engineer like Gigi Dall’Igna could be a solution for the Japanese constructor: “He would be, undoubtedly. If Honda had hired Gigi two or three years ago, they would probably have a better bike now, and they wouldn’t have lost Marquez.”
Picking up Marc’s baton on the RC213V will be an arduous task but, after a long and exhausting search, the Japanese constructor has found its heir in Luca Marini.
“I understand the fear of any rider when a champion, and the best on the grid, decides to give up his contract to leave Honda,” Jorge commented. “I understand the fear, especially in young riders, like Fermín Aldeguer, in refusing a bike like that. A bike that gives you these sensations, because it’s a very, very sharp double-edged sword.”
The 36-year-old rider also seemed very surprised that Valentino Rossi supported his brother’s move to HRC, despite the fact that he still had a year of his contract left with his team.
“I don’t know how things went, because I heard Marco Bezzecchi say that Marini left Valentino and no longer trains on his brother’s ranch. But it’s curious – given the way Valentino ended his relationship with Honda in 2003 – that it’s now his brother who joined the brand,” he added. “In fact, Rossi even posted a story on Instagram with a photo of himself in HRC, as if to hint that something was already developing.”