Motorcycle Racing

Why letting Marquez walk would have been Ducati’s greatest MotoGP blunder

Giving up Martin was a tough decision, but a necessary one

Tech3 rookie Pedro Acosta described the situation as a “soap opera”. Autosport’s revelation on Monday 3 June that Ducati had made a U-turn on its decision to promote Jorge Martin to its factory team in favour of Marc Marquez wasn’t followed by an Eastenders-style cliffhanger outro.

But it was the bombshell the 2025 MotoGP rider market was waiting for, the fallout of which being fast-moving and far-reaching.

Martin had been told prior to the Italian Grand Prix that he was Ducati’s guy for 2025. On Sunday afternoon, he was informed otherwise. Jilted, Martin went straight into Aprilia’s loving arms and penned a multi-year deal on the Monday after. It’s a massive coup for the Italian marque, once the laughingstock of the grid not five years ago, and a move that it wasted no time in ensuring would come to pass.

Ducati’s official announcement on Marquez’s promotion from Gresini to the factory team came on Wednesday 5 June. But, following Autosport breaking the news first on Monday, official communication wasn’t necessary to see the power the eight-time world champion has displayed this past week.

Ducati thought it could have its cake and eat it, with Martin getting the factory seat and Marquez getting a works bike at Pramac. Marquez said Pramac was “not an option” and Ducati management was thrown a curveball. At that moment, it was clear Ducati was going to have to give up something precious.

A quick glance at the statistics this year will make you understand why Martin walking to another manufacturer is a hard pill to swallow. Two grand prix wins and three sprint victories have given him an 18-point championship lead. After seven rounds, he is on pace to score 24 points per round. Martin has been the most consistent rider in 2024 so far.

Marquez, by comparison, has had no wins, three GP podiums and five sprint podiums (which matches Martin’s total sprint tally) and is at a 19-point-per-round pace. But this is after seven rounds in total on a Ducati that is, in theory, less competitive than Martin’s as it’s the 2023 version. Martin, of course, has been on a Ducati since 2021.

Giving up Martin was a tough decision, but a necessary one

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

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