Ducati Will Lose One of its Star MotoGP Riders, Jorge Lorenzo Says

Five-times MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo has weighed in on the complicated issue of Ducati’s 2025 rider line-up

Jorge Lorenzo. - Gold and Goose

Having already signed Francesco Bagnaia up through the end of 2026, a big part of Ducati’s MotoGP future is secure. The other part of the equation is proving especially complex to work out.

The candidates are Pramac Ducati rider and current 2024 MotoGP World Championship leader Jorge Martin, Gresini Ducati’s eight-times World Champion Marc Marquez, and current holder of the coveted second Ducati Lenovo Team seat Enea Bastianini. Together with Bagnaia they make Ducati’s star quartet, each seemingly capable of winning every weekend.

Each has their own merits, and Martin and Marquez made things all the more complicated for Ducati management at last week’s French Grand Prix in which they both fought against - and beat - Francesco Bagnaia for victory.

Jorge Lorenzo’s view of the subject is quite straightforward.

“Ducati would like to keep all four of them (Bastianini, Marquez, Martin, and Bagnaia),” Lorenzo told Spanish MotoGP broadcaster DAZN, for whom he commentates the MotoGP races. “The ideal scenario for them would be to have them all wearing red, but it is impossible because of the regulations.”

The MotoGP regulations limit each team to two riders, a regulation which was brought in effectively to try to reduce the dominance of the factory teams after Repsol Honda ran Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner, and Andrea Dovizioso in 2011. With Bagnaia already secured, Ducati only has one factory slot to fill and the aforementioned three candidates to choose from.

Lorenzo sees that the situation is complicated for Ducati, which is almost certain to lose one of its star riders.

“I think Jorge [Martin] will leave if he doesn't wear red,” the five-times World Champion said, adding that “Bastianini will go if he gets demoted. The only one they could keep without making him wear red is Marc Marquez, but [they have to give him] a factory bike.”

One option for Ducati is to promote Martin to the factory team, let Bastianini go, and put Marquez on a bike with the same specification as the factory riders but in a satellite team. Lorenzo said that this would be “the most logical way to keep at least three out of the four.” 

A part of this, Lorenzo said, was allowing Marquez to keep his personal Red Bull sponsorship. A recent article on Motorsport.com detailed the sponsorship difficulty Marquez would have to navigate if he were to join the Ducati Lenovo Team. Red Bull clashes with Monster, his eyewear sponsor Oakley clashes with Ducati’s Carrera, and his deal with Samsung clashes with Lenovo. 

Additionally, Marquez’ long term partner Allianz, which sponsors Marquez’ motocross camp for young riders, opposes Ducati’s Unipol, and would also make a move to Pramac - sponsored by insurance company Prima - less than straightforward. Marquez relied heavily on his personal sponsors’ support to cope with the financial loss involved with quitting Honda with a year left on his contract to move to Gresini. Being able to stay at Gresini, but moving from year-old to current-spec machinery would therefore likely work for Marquez, who simply wants to win.

Martin, on the other hand, also wants to feel valued, partly because he’s young and partly because he has - as he sees it - been screwed over on three occasions now by factories: KTM gave him no options in MotoGP for 2021, then Ducati refused to promote him in 2022, and again after fighting for the title in 2023. While Marquez would likely accept a factory bike in a satellite team, Martin has never been a factory rider, and so that’s all he wants - if he can’t get it at Ducati he will get it somewhere else.

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