Marquez forcing Martin out of Ducati shows he’s still MotoGP king

Even the Abu Dhabi Auto Racing League

Jorge Martin and Aprilia have beaten Ducati to announce their joint plans for the 2025 MotoGP World Championship, staying ahead of the news cycle. But while Martin's move is a stunning coup for Aprilia and will allow Martin to drive factory MotoGP as he wanted, the undoubted winner of the great chess match that has taken place during the silly season is Marc Marquez, the six-time champion.

Marquez's command of the red bike and the adjacent garage spot of Pico Bagnaia, the flamboyant disciple of arch-rival Valentino Rossi, looks like an off-track masterpiece that could rival any of his actual victories.

It comes after a weekend in which Marquez's 2024 title hopes looked as dim as ever, with the 2023-spec Ducati having no answer for work-spec bikes, and that's arguably a great thing. Whatever is going on On track – and this doesn't make it seem as if Marquez wasn't performing well on track, because objectively he did – this proved that MotoGP is still all about the No. 93.

It will not come without sacrifices for Marquez. It is widely expected that he will at least have to end his long association with Red Bull, where the Ducati team has Munster sponsorship. It is not clear whether he will be able to take any of Gresini's crew with him. It is unlikely to be the kind of payday that makes up for his decision to walk away from Honda's huge contract one year early. Maybe he got that payday somewhere else.

But it doesn't really matter. Marquez will get what he is tracking to be the best ride in the MotoGP World Championship in 2025, plus all the benefits of being a factory rider with it. In doing so, he appears to have inadvertently culled the ranks of his Ducati teammates/opponents as well.

Ducati has been tracking an embarrassment of riches for 2025 with a best-of-both-worlds solution – Martin to the factory team, Marquez to Pramac and a factory-spec bike, and Pramac staying within its ranks rather than going to Yamaha as a result. .

The report from the Spanish website, which first revealed the story of Ducati choosing Marquez earlier today, indicates that this was the result that things were heading towards, or at least the result that Ducati was working towards, before Marquez suddenly clarified that it was not He has no interest in her. Go to Pramac.

Why he said that doesn't really matter, and whether that was the real catalyst for everything that followed – that doesn't matter much either. After all, it's not hard to see why Ducati would see Marc Márquez's appeal in factory red, rather than in any affiliated team, for advertising and marketing purposes.

Ultimately, the simple math of the equation is that Marquez competed with Martin for the seat he wanted – against a rider five years his junior, a rider who could claim the No. 1 plate elsewhere next season – and won.

Martin now heads to Aprilia, a great team with a great bike but not a proven championship winner. Ducati is expected to lose Enea Bastianini as well, with all reports indicating that he is close to sealing a deal with KTM/Tech3. And there's no longer a top-tier Desmosedici wheel dangling in front of the Pramac – is it up to Yamaha after all, reducing the amount of Desmosedici on the grid?

Pedro Acosta is still a very huge problem in 2025, and Martin could win that year's title on the strength of sheer fury alone. But for now, Marquez has completely rearranged the chessboard the way his die-hard fans had drawn it.

He can now also count on more support in his 2024 campaign – don't expect Ducati to try to derail Martin, but allocating additional resources to Marquez and Gresini would be a good and fair way to try and maximize its chances of maintaining pole position. A plaque on one of her bikes in 2025, whether it's a Marquez or a Pico Bagnaia.

The good news for Ducati is that it was clearly great. His average race position (lap by lap) in all Grand Prix and Sprint races this year was 4.4, well ahead of the other 23 Ducati riders. He averages 9.0 for Fabio Di Giannantonio, 10.5 for brother Alex Marquez, and 10.9 for Marco Pizzici.

this The chasm. It's a gap against riders who were sporadically causing the likes of Martin and Bagnaia a lot of trouble last year.

Ducati clearly understands this, because otherwise it would not have been possible to think about abandoning Martin. Bagnaia has already said that he would have preferred Bastianini to stay, and the racing team understands that he would prefer to have Martin alongside him rather than Marquez.

So the fact that Marquez made Ducati do Martin's sacrifice is one of the most notable things he has ever achieved in MotoGP – which is saying a lot.


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