Alex Marquez has brought Honda’s woes into perspective by claiming he is using no more effort or dedication now he’s with Ducati yet ‘instead of fighting for 15th’ he’s now a 2023 MotoGP World Championship podium contender.
The two-time GP World Champion has emerged as something of a revelation since curtailing his three-year tenure with Honda in favour of a switch to the Ducati fold at Gresini Racing for the new season.
Though he is riding a year-old Ducati GP22, so far from four races over two rounds, Marquez has achieved three top five results, a maiden pole position in Argentina and a first podium since the 2020 Aragon MotoGP.
The results have gone a long way to justifying Gresini Racing’s faith in Marquez, who was considered a risky choice to replace the team’s race-winning talisman Enea Bastianini following three fairly lacklustre seasons at Repsol Honda/LCR Honda.
Indeed, his two Sprint Race fifth place results and main feature third in Argentina already represent his best results in three years of MotoGP outside of two anomalous back-to-back podiums in 2020.
The results shine a harsher spotlight on a Honda team that has struggled for consistently good form since the start of the 2020 MotoGP, despite winning five titles on the trot with Alex’s brother, Marc Marquez, directly before that.
Indeed, Marquez doubles down on this by saying he isn’t riding any more ‘dedicated’ than he was at Honda, but the quality of his machinery means he is now competing at the front.
“Well, in the end you go on the bike and it's not easy because you give the same, but having a better bike, instead of fighting for 15th, you are fighting for the podium,” he said. “It's like that. In the end the effort, the dedication, the concentration is exactly the same.”
"We have achieved the pole, we have achieved a podium, it has been a top 5 in the sprint and if you ask me before coming to Argentina I would have signed on any paper, to have this weekend. I feel happy.”
Alex Marquez hails dream start to Ducati MotoGP tenure
Indeed, Marquez is delighted with the confidence boost his start to life at Gresini Ducati has given him, adding that it is not unrealistic to be target mirroring his predecessor Bastianini’s top four in the overall standings.
“I did not imagine it, is the truth,” he added. “It’s much better than I imagined and as I said at the beginning of the season.
“I think it is not the real position to be in the top four of the championship, in performance, where we are, I think we are more from five to eight, to be clear.”