Honda confirms 2024 MotoGP Marc Marquez replacement

The replacement for Marc Marquez at the Repsol Honda Team for the 2024 MotoGP season has been confirmed, and it's Luca Marini

Luca Marini, Marc Marquez, 2023 MotoGP Australian Grand Prix. - Gold and Goose

The Repsol Honda Team has confirmed its choice of replacement for Marc Marquez for the 2024 MotoGP World Championship, which will see Luca Marini join Joan Mir in the factory HRC squad.

The hole left by Marc Marquez in Repsol Honda after yesterday’s Valencia Grand Prix is essentially unfillable by any rider. Honda is on what would appear to be a long road back to the front of MotoGP with its RC213V which has won one race in the last two seasons, and therefore it has decided to not bother trying to fill the hole immediately, and instead focus on bringing the bike back to competitiveness.

Luca Marini is seen as a rider who can help in that respect because he is calm, thoughtful, and intelligent, and he has spent all of his MotoGP career to now riding the reference bike in MotoGP: the Ducati Desmosedici.

Unfortunately for Marini, he holds the unwanted distinction of being the only Ducati rider of 2023 to not win a race of any kind (Alex Marquez did not win a Grand Prix, but he did win the British and Malaysian Sprints).

The HRC press release announcing Marini for 2024 and 2025 reads: “Honda Racing Corporation are pleased to announce the signing of Luca Marini for the 2024 and 2025 MotoGP World Championship seasons. The 26-year-old joined the premier class in 2021 after claiming six wins and 15 podiums in the Moto2 World Championship, finishing runner-up in 2020. 

“Since joining the premier class, Marini has taken two Grand Prix podiums, two pole positions and four Sprint podiums in 2023. He will join Joan Mir in the Factory Team on a two-year contract.”

While perhaps lacking a little fanfare, the release does contain critical information, notably the confirmation that Marini’s deal is for two years - 2024 and 2025. Admittedly, a contract in the MotoGP paddock currently seems to be barely worth the paper it’s been written on, but so far no Japanese factory has shooed a rider it perceives to be underperforming out the door before a contract is up, so it seems fair to assume that Marini has two years to prove himself worthy of a renewal with Honda.

Marini will make his Honda debut at the Valencia test tomorrow (Tuesday 28 November), on the same day the aforementioned Marquez will get his first taste of Ducati machinery with Gresini; when Franco Morbidelli will debut for 2023 Teams’ Champions, Pramac; when Alex Rins will return to inline-four machinery with Yamaha; when Pedro Acosta will make his MotoGP debut with KTM; and when Fabio Di Giannantonio will (probably) ride the VR46 Ducati for the first time.