Marc Marquez reveals first thoughts about Ducati MotoGP bike

Marc Marquez has given his first comments about last November’s Valencia test, in which he rode a Ducati Desmosedici MotoGP bike for the first time

Marc Marquez, 2024 MotoGP Valencia test. - Gold and Goose

The new year saw the end of Marc Marquez’ contract with HRC, and the beginning of his new stint at Gresini Ducati, for which he tested last November in Valencia.

The conclusion of that Honda contract, and the subsequent beginning of the new one with Gresini Racing, meant Marquez’ comments from the Valencia test could be published for the first time.

These came courtesy of Spanish broadcaster DAZN, to whom Marquez revealed that the test went “better than expected.”

Marquez had topped the test at one point, and finished it in third place, while Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales went into the winter as the fastest rider.

Marquez told DAZN that “the truth is that the Valencia test was better than expected. Logically I was nervous, there were butterflies in my stomach... And even though I've been in the World Championship for many years, [moving from Repsol Honda to Gresini Ducati] was a big change. But after the first stint, I was much calmer, relaxed.”

Part of the reason for the initial nerves, Marquez said, was down to the Ducati Desmosedici GP, whose recent success - Teams’, Riders’, and Manufacturers’ champion in each of the last two seasons - meant that it was down to Marquez himself to prove that he could be competitive.

“I jump on the champion bike, so it's in my hands,” Marquez said. “There are a lot of riders who go fast with this bike, I was able to adapt faster than expected.”

Marquez wouldn’t comment on the differences between the Ducati he has climbed aboard for 2024 and the Honda he had ridden for 10 years, saying only that the Desmosedici, compared to the RC213V, is “a different bike with a different riding style.”

The eight-times World Champion also added that “Immediately I felt very good,” and that he “felt good” after putting in a new soft-compound rear tyre at the end of the test, too.

Despite the evidently positive start for Marquez, he still reckons there is some margin to improve, as you might expect at this early stage. “There are still things that I don't feel completely comfortable with,” he said, “but the speed was there, which is the most important thing. I understood the bike, how to manage things. I still have a lot to learn, maybe not to go faster, but to be more consistent and go much safer.”

The #93 will take these lessons later this year on 6-8 February at the second 2024 preseason test in Sepang, Malaysia, and then on 19-20 February in Lusail, Qatar. Marquez said that these tests will be important for him to really understand the Ducati, because of the different layouts of the tracks compared to Valencia. “In Valencia, at the end, you arrive from the Grand Prix, the riders had everything in hand," says Marc Márquez, who Ducati Lenovo’s Enea Bastianini told GPOne is “faster [...] in several places than all of the Ducati riders,” after the Valencia test.

“Malaysia and Qatar are two different circuits,” Marquez said, “there I will also understand if I really adapt well to the bike because they are corners that, for my riding style, are a bit more complicated.” That’s not to say that these are ‘bad’ tracks for Marquez - he won in Qatar in 2014 only a few weeks after breaking his leg, and he’s won twice (2014 and 2018) in Malaysia.

On the other hand, Marquez was beaten in head-to-head fights with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso at Qatar in 2018 and 2019, and the Italian brand has won the last two Grands Prix at both Lusail and Sepang.

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