Motorcycle Racing

Marc Marquez’s path to becoming a factory Ducati MotoGP rider

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda

The eight-time world champion, for the first time in his MotoGP career, is not racing within a factory team after electing to quit Honda to join the Gresini squad on a year-old Ducati.

While once a move that would have seen him slide down the order, the current competitive nature of MotoGP means you can fight for the championship even racing on a year-old bike.

Marquez has already scored more points in 2024 in seven rounds than he did in the whole of his final season at Honda last year (136 vs 96) and has scored three grand prix podiums for the first time since 2019.

When he left Honda, he was looking to simply regain his confidence and enjoy racing again after four difficult years on the RC213V between 2020 and 2023. Now he has secured a spot within the best factory and the fastest bike of the moment in MotoGP.

Here is the timeline of Marquez’s return to a factory MotoGP team.

20 February 2020 – Marquez signs four-year Honda deal

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda

Photo by: Repsol Media

On the eve of the 2020 season (or what should have been, had it not been for the COVID pandemic) Marquez penned an unprecedented four-year contract to remain with Honda through to the end of 2024.

While Honda’s motorcycles had been getting harder to ride and most struggled for form, Marquez was able to be utterly dominant on the package.

He took six world titles in seven years between 2013 and 2019, his last seeing him win by over 150 points and finish in the top two in all but one grand prix.

With a deal thought to be worth in the €100m range, it seemed that the Marquez/Honda dynasty was never-ending.

19 July 2020 – Marquez breaks his arm, beginning the downward spiral

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: MotoGP

Forced into a recovery ride after running off while leading in the season-opening Spanish GP, Marquez displayed a frighteningly ominous pace.

Then it all went wrong when he crashed in the latter stages at Turn 3 and badly broke his right arm. It was an injury that required three operations that year and ruled him out for the whole season.

A fourth would follow in 2022 to have his arm rotated back to its original position. But ultimately, it was the beginning of the downward spiral that would end the Honda/Marquez relationship.

Without Marquez, Honda went in a tailspin developing the bike into something its other riders could be competitive on and is still trying to figure out its way back to the front of the…

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