Fake crash, real issues – Marquez’s first Ducati setback

Fake crash, real issues – Marquez’s first Ducati setback


Marc Marquez has faced his first Ducati hurdles on the opening day of the Sepang test – but not for the reasons that the new Gresini Racing rider expected at a track that he’s no big fan of.

Instead, it was a series of technical problems on his year-old Desmosedici that left him missing out on valuable track time as he continues to adapt his riding style to a very different machine from the Honda he’s spent his whole premier-class career onboard.

Breaking down on his very first exit from the box on Tuesday morning, Marquez and his GP23 subsequently ended up returning several times to the Gresini garage either on a recovery truck or on the Sepang circuit’s service roads – but perhaps uncharacteristically none of these interruptions came because of crashes but rather because of a series of technical issues.

One of these even contributed to what was at the time recorded as his first Ducati crash – only to be then corrected as Marquez simply running off track, meaning he is still yet to crash on the Ducati (although, as the shot above attests, he’s already come close).

“Today was a very busy day,” he explained at the end of the day, “and a strange day.

“We had, with the team, many issues.

“The good thing is that the team reacted in a good way, and they fixed everything, but everything that could happen happened today.

“In fact we were not able to work in a good way. I was not able to work with the bike, and only the last hour of the afternoon was when we did some laps in a row and started to feel better with the bike.”

Marc Marquez, Gresini Ducati, MotoGP

However, while it might have been a tough opening day of 2024, Marquez was adamant that it wasn’t a huge setback for him given the way in which his squad reacted.

“Yesterday, we were speaking about this,” when asked by The Race if his new satellite status had affected the day, “but for example my brother [team-mate Alex Marquez] had no problem during the day and last year the team had no problem during any practice.

“Today, every time I was going out, four times I came back on the service road. It was unlucky, but the most important thing is that it was the first day of testing and the team reacted in a good way and fixed everything in a very professional way.”

Marquez did log 47 laps on the day, which is hardly a disastrous number – the median rider lap count was 54 – but he stressed there had been a real dearth of “quality laps”.

“This is the point – you are always looking for quality laps and today I wasn’t able to.”

A Sepang/Valencia contrast

Marc Marquez, Gresini Ducati, MotoGP

There’s plenty of time to catch up in the four days of testing still to go both at Sepang and Qatar’s Lusail circuit. But Marquez did admit that there’s also still plenty of work for him to do to adapt.

Something that was less evident on his first day on the Ducati at Valencia’s post-race test in November, Marquez long made it abundantly clear that he expected things to be somewhat tougher at Sepang, a circuit that he’s far less confident at – and believes that his day one experiences have lived up to that expectation.

“For example in Valencia,” he explained, “the way to ride both bikes [the Honda and the Ducati] was quite similar, but here the riding style is changing quite a lot. The way to open the gas, to use the lines and the track, is different.

“I was used to riding a Honda one way here and the way to ride the Ducati here to take the maximum profit is completely different. In fact in the morning I was riding like a Honda, and the bike was shaking more and I was struggling more.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Ducati, MotoGP

“But in the afternoon I was starting to understand better, and tomorrow I still need to do more laps and work on the pace.

“With the Honda you were using a lot the front, but with Ducati the rear. The balance is different.

“I was used to riding a lot with the front, but with Ducati I still need to understand the way to do it.”



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