Marquez: European manufacturers have raised the bar in MotoGP

Alex Marquez (#73) and Ducati-mounted Marco Bezzecchi (#72). Picture: MotoGP.com

Alex Marquez says that the European manufacturers have raised the bar in MotoGP, as he prepares to leave Honda for Ducati team Gresini Racing.

Marquez debuted in the premier class with the factory Repsol Honda Team in 2020 but this, his second season with LCR, will be his last on an RC213V for the time being.

Next year, he will saddle up on a GP22-spec Desmosedici from the Bologna factory which has won the last two constructors’ championships and, through its own Ducati Lenovo Team, last year’s teams’ championship.

After 11 rounds so far in 2022, the other Italian marque, Aprilia, is on top in the teams’ title race, while Ducati again leads the constructors’ standings, with the once-mighty Honda rooted to the bottom of the latter.

Aprilia Racing has come on in leaps and bounds in this, its fourth year under the leadership of CEO Massimo Rivola, a former Ferrari Formula 1 employee who introduced practices such as the use of radios to talk to engineers in the garage.

According to Marquez, the European MotoGP manufacturers are indeed now more F1-like in how quickly they work.

“European constructors have changed the way they deal with MotoGP, the way they work and develop the bike,” said the 2019 Moto2 champion.

“We see it with Ducati and Aprilia, above all. There are many more people, a lot of communication and, above all, speed in changing things.

“In a way, they look more like Formula 1 now. The reaction time is much faster, and this is fundamental in modern MotoGP, where every detail counts.

“We also need to make changes from one race to another. This could make the difference.”

Interestingly, Yamaha confirmed in recent weeks that it had signed up former Toyota F1 engine technical director Luca Marmorini to work on its powerplants.

The Iwata marque is currently second to Ducati in the constructors’ championship by a chunky 74 points, with Aprilia third and Austria’s KTM fourth, then the other Japanese manufacturers in Suzuki and Honda.

Furthermore, four of the top five teams field European bikes, with Aprilia followed in the standings by Yamaha, Ducati, Pramac (Ducati), and KTM.

It was Ducati which had arguably come to have the best bike in recent years, even if Joan Mir won the 2020 riders’ championship with Suzuki and Fabio Quartararo looks likely to make it two in a row this year with Yamaha.

Whether the Aprilia RS-GP has surpassed the Desmosedici is a matter of conjecture, but Marquez is confident that a Bologna bullet will suit him just fine.

The Honda RC213V, on the other hand, has been a bike which only his brother Marc has really been able to get a handle of in recent years.

Asked what he expected from the Ducati, the younger Marquez said, “I don’t know; I don’t like to talk about a bike I haven’t tried yet.

“But it’s clear that many riders can be fast with this bike. It seems suitable for many different styles.

“This could be a great opportunity for me. I believe in the project, in the bike, and in the team.”

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