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Marc Marquez unworried by Qatar MotoGP test crash - “The plan was to risk a bit…”

Gold & Goose

Marc Marquez has pronounced himself satisfied with his form ahead of his Gresini Ducati debut following the conclusion of official 2024 MotoGP pre-season testing in Qatar.

The Spaniard has courted the lion’s share of the attention after making the surprise switch from factory Honda to privateer Ducati machinery over the winter, where he joins brother Alex Marquez in the satellite Italian team.

Though he is riding a year-old Ducati GP23, Marquez has been tipped to provide a challenge to factory-equipped stablemates Pecco Bagnaia, Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini and has duly proved competitive over a single time attack during pre-season at Sepang and Lusail.


It hasn’t been entirely plain sailing for Marquez though with technical gremlins affecting him in both tests, while he has at times struggled to turn on the pace as instantly as his fellow Ducati riders, leaving him in the lower reaches of the timesheets from long spells.

Nevertheless, despite a crash from his machine late on - which he says was prompted by him intentionally pushing on to find the limit - Marquez was still an eye-catching fifth fastest, a position he feels is representative of where he ranks heading to the Qatar MotoGP opener on 8-10 March.

“It was the plan to push a bit and risk a bit, increase it to see the limit of the bike,” he said, explaining his crash. 

“On a hot lap they are still a bit faster, but I am happy because we improved our fastest lap and our time attack, and then I was doing a long run, the plan was 20 laps [but there was a] red flag. 

“On lap 12 I crashed because I was trying different things, but the pace was not bad, it was a complete pre-season.

“Realistically, if there was a race then I think we can fight for fifth, sixth position but the race weekends are different. The guys - Pecco, Jorge and Enea - they know the bike very well, they just go out and they push and are super fast from the beginning. 

“But I will try to learn the riding style, how they manage problems and step-by-step I hope to be closer.

Discussing whom he feels is the target heading to the Lusail season opener, Marquez feels double World Champion Bagnaia - who ended both the Sepang and Lusail test fastest - is the rider for him to both beat and emulate.

“The favourite is the champion. He topped the Malaysia test, the Qatar test. He is quick, he is in good form, he is the favourite. But Bastianini and Martin, they are super fast, the good thing is they are riding the same manufacturer from me so I can learn from them.”

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