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Friday, June 21, 2024

Why letting Marquez stroll away would have been Ducati’s best MotoGP blunder

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Tech3 rookie Pedro Acosta described the state of affairs as a “cleaning soap opera”. Autosport’s revelation on Monday 3 June that Ducati had made a U-turn on its decision to advertise Jorge Martin to its manufacturing facility workforce in favour of Marc Marquez wasn’t adopted by an Eastenders-style cliffhanger outro.

But it surely was the bombshell the 2025 MotoGP rider market was ready for, the fallout of which being fast-moving and far-reaching.

Martin had been instructed previous to the Italian Grand Prix that he was Ducati’s man for 2025. On Sunday afternoon, he was knowledgeable in any other case. Jilted, Martin went straight into Aprilia’s loving arms and penned a multi-year deal on the Monday after. It’s a large coup for the Italian marque, as soon as the laughingstock of the grid not 5 years in the past, and a transfer that it wasted no time in making certain would come to go.

Ducati’s official announcement on Marquez’s promotion from Gresini to the manufacturing facility workforce got here on Wednesday 5 June. However, following Autosport breaking the information first on Monday, official communication wasn’t essential to see the ability the eight-time world champion has displayed this previous week.

Ducati thought it might have its cake and eat it, with Martin getting the manufacturing facility seat and Marquez getting a works bike at Pramac. Marquez mentioned Pramac was “not an choice” and Ducati administration was thrown a curveball. At that second, it was clear Ducati was going to have to surrender one thing treasured.

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A fast look on the statistics this yr will make you perceive why Martin strolling to a different producer is a tough capsule to swallow. Two grand prix wins and three dash victories have given him an 18-point championship lead. After seven rounds, he’s on tempo to attain 24 factors per spherical. Martin has been probably the most constant rider in 2024 thus far.

Marquez, by comparability, has had no wins, three GP podiums and 5 dash podiums (which matches Martin’s complete dash tally) and is at a 19-point-per-round tempo. However that is after seven rounds in complete on a Ducati that’s, in principle, much less aggressive than Martin’s because it’s the 2023 model. Martin, after all, has been on a Ducati since 2021.

Giving up Martin was a troublesome determination, however a obligatory one

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Martin is working at a excessive degree and might be simply hitting his stride as a high MotoGP rider. However the ceiling for Marquez on a Desmosedici seems extremely excessive. And Marquez has the pedigree of six MotoGP world titles to indicate simply what he’s able to when working at his finest.

After 4 depressing years at Honda since badly breaking his arm in 2020, it’s simple to overlook simply how dominant Marquez was on a nasty RC213V in 2019 when he gained his sixth world title. He scored 12 victories that yr, completed second in the remainder bar Austin (the place he crashed out) and was champion by 151 factors over Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso.

The following finest Honda that yr was Cal Crutchlow in ninth within the standings, 287 factors again on Marquez and was the one different HRC consultant to succeed in the rostrum. Now suppose what Marquez might do on the very best bike on the grid, one thing he hasn’t actually had for the reason that earliest days of his premier class profession.

Marquez and Bagnaia have already had a few flashpoints on monitor in 2024. There’s a Rossi/Lorenzo dynamic brewing that Ducati should handle finally

Throw within the advertising worth of Marquez – one thing Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali was all too conscious of – and it makes the choice to advertise Marquez a no brainer. A examine revealed in 2023 by Epsilon Applied sciences and Far Consulting confirmed Marquez was five-times extra standard on social media than some other rider.

On the monitor, the best way he has overvalued crowds in current races has been a Rossi-level show of showmanship that’s starting to elicit the identical feelings from followers. If Marquez – whether or not that’s this yr or within the subsequent two – wins the title once more, it can solely take his legend to new heights given the place he has come from with damage and leaving Honda to get to that time. Doing that on a Ducati, that is a area day for Borgo Panigale’s advertising division.

The purists could not prefer it, however Marquez has promoting energy Martin will in all probability by no means have. And for a producer like Ducati, that could be a vitally necessary consideration as a lot as competitiveness is.

In the event you have been the boss who let Marquez stroll to a rival producer with whom he wins races and the championship, you’ll be kissing your chunky pay packet goodbye not lengthy after.

Marquez and Bagnaia have already had several flashpoints in 2024

Marquez and Bagnaia have already had a number of flashpoints in 2024

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Ducati may have a number of storms to climate now (as Oriol Puigdemont excellently illustrated in his professional evaluation of the state of affairs here) with this determination. Instantly, Bagnaia gained’t be vastly completely happy on the affect Marquez already has inside the producer after simply seven rounds on the bike. And by extension, his mentor Valentino Rossi – with whom Marquez is an arch nemesis – might be even much less completely happy at this.

Marquez and Bagnaia have already had a few flashpoints on monitor in 2024. In Portugal they collided late on within the grand prix, whereas they banged fairings in a beautiful battle for victory at Jerez. There’s a Rossi/Lorenzo dynamic brewing that Ducati should handle finally.

On high of that, Martin is now totally out for himself in 2024, which might result in extra needle. As might the chance that Ducati stops updating his GP24 to keep away from extra secrets and techniques going to Aprilia. It would even be intriguing to see if any manufacturing facility mechanics go from the Pramac storage to Gresini when racing resumes at Assen later this month.

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Ducati’s determination additionally probably factors to Pramac strolling away to change into a Yamaha satellite tv for pc associate, which in flip will imply VR46 (so Rossi might be satiated just a little a minimum of) will get manufacturing facility exclusivity as Ducati’s satellite tv for pc workforce.

There’s additionally the Fermin Aldeguer drawback that seemed, when he signed his manufacturing facility deal, that he would make his MotoGP debut with Pramac. If Pramac walks, Aldeguer’s future would require some thought.

These are all complications Ducati will certainly gladly settle for if it means having the most effective rider of the previous decade in its manufacturing facility colors. It has already annihilated the fragile ecosystem it had with its rider steady, however to take care of that on the expense of shedding Marquez would have been as naive as it will be silly.

Marquez's pressure on Ducati to give him the factory seat showed his power

Marquez’s stress on Ducati to provide him the manufacturing facility seat confirmed his energy

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images



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