Alex Marquez has ditched his flailing Honda in favour of Gresini Racing for 2023 and the proven MotoGP race-winning Ducati GP22.
While Marquez joins the family-run Italian squad for his fourth year in the premier class, will his switch in machinery shake up the brotherly bond that he holds with elder sibling and Repsol Honda rider Marc?
“No, the training is like every year,” Marquez confirmed on his pre-season preparation so far. “For sure I try personally to improve some things that I have in mind, also I tried the bike in Valencia and I know which area I need to work a little bit on training, but I mean the work and the atmosphere training with my brother is always the same.
“We are professionals. We know that we need to separate the things on track but off track I have the best reference for me to train, that is Marc.
“He is really fast always on motocross, on flat track, karting, so, we always enjoy training and this will not change. We are professional as we said, the info on MotoGP we will not share for sure, but outside, we are brothers and we share our training like all our life.”
While the 26-year-old has moved from a struggling RC213V to the championship-winning Desmosedici, he still feels his brother is the one to watch once the lights go out in Portimao at the end of March.
“When you start a season you are equal with everybody,” the younger Marquez explained. “Doesn't matter the name, doesn't matter the bike. I mean, everybody starts from zero. Is true the Ducati comes from a really good year, Honda a struggling year - they have a lot of problems last year and I suffer. But as I said, I think we start the season everybody with zero points, we are everybody equal.
“Marc as a rider, we know that he's the best in the grid. He's the guy with more world championships in the pocket, so for sure I think he will be the favourite this year.
“I see him training a lot. I'm not feeling better or worse than him, as I said we are starting equal everybody and we will see in the first race. Now I feel great in me, I try just to improve and learn some things from him because he's my brother and I share only with Marc. We need to work and we'll start from zero and I hope will be a great year for me.”
Marquez scored only four top-ten results in 2022, with a highest of seventh from Portugal, leaving him 17th overall and with just 50 points to his name as he departed LCR. The improvement, however, was immediate for the 2019 Moto2 Champion after his first taste of the dominating Ducati at Valencia.
“What I didn't expect was to be already in the first run in the same lap times like Honda, or even faster with a medium rear tyre,” he admitted. “I mean, I was not feeling really good on the bike because you know, position, ergonomy, all this was really different compared Honda so I was not riding with a lot of confidence but the lap times were coming from the first run. These are really great signs for me.
“When you are not feeling good but the lap times are coming, is something great.
“I was feeling really good. Really easy with the engine, how the power delivery is coming. Still I need to improve some things because I ride for another manufacturer for three years, and I have some things on my riding style that I will need to change. This is something normal. I will need to learn different things compared with the guys from Ducati, with the riders that are already some years in this bike and just to copy some things. Will be a really great, interesting preseason for me to try to adapt and then try to be ready in the first race in Portimao to start the year in a great way.
“It is a great opportunity to me,” he continued on the move. “I felt really great and warm welcome at Valencia. I was at Ducati factory in December. The feeling and the emotions are great. Motivation is high like always, because last season I was in a difficult situation but I never lose the motivation. Now we need to keep going like this.”