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Why Marquez refused to fight with Martin on track for 2025 Ducati MotoGP seat




On Wednesday, it was announced that six-time MotoGP champion Marquez will step up from Gresini to join the official Ducati squad next year, partnering Francesco Bagnaia in an all-star line-up.

It was the culmination of a series of events that took place over the last seven days, which completely changed the trajectory of his career and that of current points leader Jorge Martin.

Initially, Ducati had chosen Pramac rider Martin for the seat set to be vacated by the outgoing Enea Bastianini, and the 26-year-old was duly informed of the move by the Italian marque’s management. However, this option hinged on Marquez accepting the offer to join Pramac on a full-factory move, something the former Honda rider ruled out during the press conference for the Italian Grand Prix.

In its attempt to keep both riders on its payroll, Ducati came up with a solution that involved pitting the two Spaniards against each other on track, with the winner getting the coveted factory seat for 2025. So although Martin was originally selected for the ride, Marquez would have secured an automatic promotion by winning the 2024 title.

However, the 31-year-old turned down this option and, amid the risk that he could take his talent and marketing power to another manufacturer, Ducati took a U-turn on its original decision and elected to sign Marquez to join Bagnaia in 2025.

Martin was unimpressed by Ducati’s change of stance and turned his back on Borgo Panigale, signing a deal with Aprilia on Monday after the Mugello race.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing Team

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

In his first interview since the announcement, Marquez explained that he didn’t feel he had the right machinery to take Martin head-on in the 2024 title fight. The Gresini rider is comPeting with a year-old GP23 bike, while his compatriot has the latest-spec Desmosedici, with Pramac being the only-factory supported satellite squad in Ducati’s line-up.

"It's simple. If you have to earn it on the track, you have to have the same weapons, and now I don't have them,” he told the SER channel in Spain.

“But it's no excuse and I'm proving that I can be competitive.

“Athletes not only have sporting contracts, but there are other [deals] with sponsors who have followed me all my career and a multinational closes [its sponsorship agreements] in September for the next two years and cannot wait. It was unfeasible.”

Marquez hailed the role Ducati’s general manager Gigi Dall’Igna played over the last few months, before stressing the importance of his own results in the early part of 2024 in getting the factory seat.

‘If I'm at Ducati it's because of Gigi’,” he said.

"The card that weighs the most is the track and the Ducati engineers, as they have told me, are seeing my progress with the 2023 bike and that has weighed much more than the rest.”

Although Marquez has made a speedy adaptation to the Desmosedici after spending the previous 11 years on Honda machinery, and is currently third in the standings behind Martin and Bagnaia, he is yet to add to his tally of 59 wins since the 2021 season.

While grand prix victories are an obvious target ahead of a title assault on the factory bike in 2025, Marquez warned that “one of the things I've learned is not to get obsessed, because if you only want to win, there will be a lot of crashes.”

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