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MotoGP, Marquez: "Acosta could fight for the title, like I did in my rookie year”

Marc then toned down his expectations for himself: “A doctor would say that my arm works, but it’ll never be what it was before. I’m going to be a different rider now, but not better than before. It’s a natural course. Every rider loses something over the years, and new young ones arrive.”

MotoGP: Marquez:

A few images were enough tangible proof of this year’s expectations for Marc Marquez riding the Ducati GP23: those of the crowd of journalists who came to his first appearance in the Gresini garage in Valencia at the end of the past season. His last difficult years on the Honda, marked by his first major arm injury - which then culminated in his decision in Indonesia to turn over a new leaf and open a new chapter in his career on a Ducati - are all small steps along a given path. This has now taken him to Qatar to face the last tests before the first race in Losail, wearing the Gresini team colors.

In an interesting interview with The-race.com, the rider from Spain talked about the last few years of his career, made up of challenges, but also of doubts and questions the rider now aims to answer. Marc on the Ducati GP23 is more of a challenge for himself than a response to what others expect from him. A challenge marked by the spirit of a mature rider who’s aware of his own difficulties and physical limits.

My move to Gresini was something I needed,” Marc commented. “It’s clear that it was a decision that involved risks but, at the same time, it was a decision that took into account the future of my career, and not only in the short term. I wanted to test myself, to see if I still have the right motivation. Three years ago, I suffered a major arm injury. Now it’s working well, even if it’s an arm that has undergone four surgeries. If you ask a doctor’s opinion, they’ll tell you that it works like it should, but it’s obviously no longer the same arm as before the accident.”

More than wanting to prove something to others, it’s essential for Marc to prove something to himself.
I didn’t feel competitive. And, by competitive, I don’t mean fighting for the win, but being up there, at least in the top five, because now the championship is really competitive. Year after year, it becomes more and more difficult, and new young riders arrive. Every athlete has their moment. Then, step by step, they go down. I needed to feel competitive in order to continue my career.”

The pressure of what everyone expects from the Spanish champion’s arrival in Ducati is still enormous, but Marc Marquez tried to tone down the enthusiasm.
I won’t be a better rider than I was before,” he answered decisively. “Maybe now I have more experience, that’s for sure, but I’ll never be the same physically. I heard someone say,‘he’ll come back stronger than before’ , but with such a long course after an injury, it’s difficult to get your rhythm back and be in shape like before. Of course, your body can adapt, but it remembers what happened. I’m going to be a different rider, maybe, but not a better one.”

According to the tests, Honda didn’t just sit back and watch. They seem to have progressed, even if it may be late for Marc, but there’s still a glimmer of hope.
The work they’ve done over the past three months has been fantastic. Clearly, I still have an excellent relationship with the mechanics and with Alberto Puig and Kuwata san. They changed the engine, the balance of the bike ... and many other things that I don’t know, because they’re now rivals, and they keep their secrets to themselves.

What’s certain is that the riders market will open up this year, starting from the very first races, and the Marc doesn’t yet know his own future.
In the past, I didn’t have to worry about my contract. But, starting this year, it won’t be like that anymore. It’s no secret. If you’re fast on the track, you have more options. If you’re not, you’ll have less ...

So, without considering the expectations, the 2024 season will be a personal challenge for Marc. However, his goals may not be the same as any other rider on the grid, so he defined them.
I’d like to have the right feeling, fight for podiums, maybe fight for some wins but, objectively, fighting for the championship is difficult. There are riders like Bagnaia, Martin, Bezzecchi, Binder ... even Acosta, who’s a rookie. But, he could win. After all, I did it too. For me, this season will be a good challenge. I’ll have to learn a lot about this Ducati because, at the moment, the way I was riding the Honda isn’t good for this bike.”

 


Translated by Leila Myftija

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