Marc Marques

Moto GP: The troubled case of Marc Marquez.

Marc Marquez is an eight-time world champion. His seventh at the Misano race may be a much-earned celebration given Honda’s recent troubles in the class, but it’s not what an eight-time champion signed up for.

Donovan Fourie takes a look at the conundrum.


Before the Misano weekend, Marquez teased that there might be big news coming. 

International media jumped on this, claiming the news is a shock move from the Repsol Honda Team – the most famous and successful MotoGP Team in history – to the Gresini Ducati Team, a team that’s had its share of triumphs but hardly holds a candle to Repsol. 

Three years ago, this might’ve seemed like madness. Nowadays, people could believe it, and many do, with the likes of Speedweek claiming that Marquez is definitely making the move and the deal is done.

Marc Marquez

Marquez himself kept the rumours alive throughout the weekend by being stoically ambiguous about everything, stating only that he’d signed a contract for next year. Of course, that’s true – he still has another year of his four-year contract with Honda to go. Although, people tended to read it as though he’d signed a new one – the cheeky bugger!

His moving would be a huge loss for Honda because so far, Marquez seems to be the only person who can extract anything from the bike. 

At the Misano race, he finished an astonishing 22 seconds ahead of the next Honda which was that of Honda test rider and wildcard rider, Stefan Bradl.

The rumours about Marquez’s future were quenched somewhat during Misano’s Monday MotoGP test where, after trying the 2024 bike, he wasn’t entirely enthused stating: 

“The riding style is quite different but, in the end, the problems are the same, so we need to keep working. Of course, you always expect more. If this is the base, if this is the bike, then we are far. We need to work and change many things.”


He also explained further that finishing his contract with Honda at the end of next year is also not entirely certain, but as of now he has not made his mind up, although the news should come soon: 

“There’s plan A, plan B, and plan C, which I previously mentioned as two, there are three. I have the three plans, the three ideas very clear, I am clear about what needs to happen for each of them. But there isn’t much time. There is a deadline. Around India, Japan I will decide.”


A move to the Gresini squad will come with massive penalties. The team certainly don’t have the monetary might of Honda to pay exorbitant salaries, plus Marquez would most probably have to pay some sort of buy-out of his existing contract with Honda.

While people like Johann Zarco are moving from Ducati to the LCR Honda squad to follow the money, Marquez is already a veritable Scrooge McDuck and can pursue championships rather than cheques.

But it’s not like Honda isn’t trying – after all, they need to convince the Spaniard that it is worthwhile staying: 

“It’s true that there are new engineers. They’ve started with this new bike then they will start working. They’ve not been working on this new project for a long time. Let’s see if they can make a step. An engineer has come, I believe he’s from aerodynamics, who used to work more in Formula 1, and we have also tested new aerodynamics. When I stop in the pit, I talk to a different face. They haven’t introduced me to him yet, but I think he’s the new Project Leader. Although they haven’t made it clear to me.”

Dani Pedrosa
The new Carbon Fibre frame. Did it have an impact?

Binder and the carbon-fibre solution:

KTM did its best to sneak a new carbon-fibre frame into the Misano MotoGP. They did it by bolting it onto Dani Pedrosa’s bike for his wildcard ride, and then cunningly covering it with orange vinyl. And they would have got away with it too if it weren’t for that pesky Simon Crafar and his eagle-eye.

The giveaway was where the frame connected to the steering head and the little sliver of carbon-fibre that the vinyl did not quite cover up.


Binder and Miller had a go on this frame during the Monday test. Binder ended the test in a commendable third place and Miller put in a much improved showing to finish fifth, although it’s not confirmed whether these best laps were set on the new frame or the old steel one, but were both fast during the confirmed laps.

More so, Dani Pedrosa was embarrassingly fast during the Misano weekend, out-qualifying both factory riders before finishing top KTM in fourth during the Sprint Race and was fourth again in the main race after Brad Binder had a little spill.

Pedrosa is showing many younger riders up at the moment.

This was all done using the new carbon-fibre frame. That is good news because it shows it works, maybe even more than what we are led to believe.


Dani Pedrosa was praised for his pace during the race, given that he’s 37 years old and six years retired. And so he should be praised. Even if he were on a chassis light years ahead of anyone else, his pace is still an achievement. Is it not possible, though, that some of Pedrosa’s pace at Misano was down to the frame?

If we compare this wildcard ride to Pedrosa’s wildcard at Jerez earlier in the year, it would seem that his pace has indeed improved. At Jerez, Pedrosa finished in seventh, a commendable spot for a wildcard, but the factory riders of Binder and Miller were both on the podium. 

At Misano, Pedrosa had an obviously better pace, especially compared to the full-time riders.

Maybe that was Pedrosa having a good day. 

Maybe it was the frame. Let’s wait and see.

Roll on India!

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