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Marc Marquez admits biggest test will be fighting ‘instinct’ to ride Ducati like Honda

Gold & Goose

Marc Marquez has revealed fighting the natural instinct to default to the way he rode the Honda RC213V for more than a decade will be his biggest challenge as he prepares to make his much anticipated 2024 MotoGP debut with Ducati.

The Spaniard - a six-time MotoGP World Champion with Honda - embarks on a fresh chapter with Ducati and the satellite Gresini Racing team for the 2024 MotoGP season, a debut in Qatar this weekend that will likely command the lion’s share of the media attention.

Marquez comes to Gresini Racing - where he is partnered with his brother Alex Marquez - and Ducati on the back of a debilitating period spanning four years from his serious arm injury at the start of the 2020 MotoGP season hindered by repeated physical issues and a general decline in form from the Japanese firm.


However, though Marquez’s shock decision to move to Ducati has been borne from a determination to prove his competitiveness in the current era of MotoGP - having largely dominated between 2013 and 2019 prior to his long injury lay-off in 2020 - he admits to being concerned that old habits will surface in the heat of battle in Lusail this weekend.

“My instinct, my natural riding,” he said in response to a question about what his ‘biggest fear’ was on the eve of the new season. 

“In a test you are calm and you can think about it, in a race weekend with the pressure, with the stress, my natural instinct is still to ride like the Honda. So I need to keep working, keep thinking through the weekend to ride what the bike wants, not what I want.”

Marquez has enjoyed a solid pre-season on the year-old Ducati GP23, but while many are looking to him for a potential upset in Qatar this weekend - not least because Gresini were winners in 2022 and 2023 with Enea Bastianini and Fabio di Giannantonio respectively - the man himself says he is ‘not ready to fight for the podium’.

“It was a completely different pre-season because I am used to trying new things for a bike and development, but this winter it was completely opposite,” he continued. 

“I was completely focused on myself, I tried to adapt my riding style to the new bike and from the beginning I feel not bad. 

“Still many things to learn, to improve, especially learn from the top guys inside Ducati, and at the moment I feel comfortable. 

“Not ready to fight for the podium, not ready to fight for the victory but step-by-step we need to create a base and understand during the race weekends where we are.”

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