Motorcycle Racing

Ducati says its image won’t be hurt if Marquez wins MotoGP title on old bike

Gigi Dall'Igna, Ducati Corse General Manager

The six-time premier class champion left Honda at the end of last year to join the Gresini team, which will run the 2023 bikes which dominated last season.

Although the Italian manufacturer has repeatedly stressed that Dall’Igna has no influence over the choice of riders for the Faenza-based team, Marquez’s move would not have gone ahead without the blessing of Ducati.

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The move made it clear that the Bologna company prioritised the fact of recruiting Marquez over the headaches that this could cause to the rest of the team.

Ducati insiders hinted that the manufacturer considered the hypothetical arrival of Marquez to be a problem, at a time when it enjoyed harmony among its riders.

But Dall’Igna insists that Marquez’s arrival should not create any friction.

“Honestly, I don’t see why Marc should be a problem for Ducati,” Dall’Igna told Autosport. “Is it counterproductive if a champion wants to race your bike? I find it hard to see how that could be a disadvantage.

“We are looking for competitive riders who want to ride our bike, that’s our objective.”

Ducati will be looking to repeat the huge success achieved in 2023, taking the riders’ crown with Pecco Bagnaia and the constructors’ title, while breaking all previously set records, including the number of victories: 17 in 20 events.

Dall’Igna reckons Marquez, whom many see as one of the favourites for the title in 2024, winning the championship on old machinery will not undermine Ducati’s technical progress with the new bike.

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Gigi Dall’Igna, Ducati Corse General Manager

“If Marc wins the next championship it will be because he was the best, and because he deserved it,” Dall’Igna.

“The equation is very simple. I don’t see how it can damage Ducati’s image. I have never considered whether the rider or the bike counts more. It’s the combination that wins.

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“For me, someone winning the world championship with a prototype from the previous year was never a problem. That has happened before with bikes that I managed. Gabor Talmacsi won the 125cc title on an Aprilia that was a year older than that of Hector Faubel, who was his direct rival.

“Marco Simoncelli was crowned 250cc champion (2008) after starting the year with the previous year’s bike, and he won races with it. Then at the end of the season, he got the new bike,” recalls…

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