Honda departure not permanent ‘bye-bye’ says Marquez

Marc Marquez has not ruled out a return to Honda. Image: Repsol Honda

Marc Marquez has not ruled out a return to Honda. Image: Repsol Honda

Six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez hasn’t ruled out a return to Honda after his decision to join Gresini Ducati in 2024.

The Spaniard will leave Honda after 11 years having struggled to challenge for another title on the RC213V.

Currently 15th in the standings with 64 points, the 30-year-old – 14th-fastest in FP1 at Mandalika on Friday – said his Honda exit was not a permanent ‘bye-bye’.

“I wish the best for Honda,” Marquez said, as weeks of speculation over his future finally came to an end.

“It’s not a ‘bye-bye’, it’s a ‘see you later’. I wish to cross our futures in the next years.

“They need time, they need to put their budget into the bike. A manufacturer, a brand, has time but an athlete does not have a lot of time. If you lose one year, it’s a year less in your career.”

Marquez has hailed Ducati as ‘one of the best’ manufacturers in MotoGP since 2017, but says his title triumphs on the Honda against the Italian marque in 2017, 2018 and 2019 have filled him with the belief he can challenge at the top again on the right bike.

“Since 2017 Ducati was one of the best. I will not say the best because I won the title in ’17, ’18 and ’19,” he said.

“Always I was the first Honda, the best Honda in the standings; this helps me to continue believing in myself.

“I believe this is the best one, right now, today. Maybe next year KTM will make a step, maybe Honda, maybe Yamaha – you never know.”

His departure will leave a free seat in Honda’s factory team but Marquez refused to be drawn on any potential replacements to join Joan Mir next season.

Maverick Viñales and Miguel Oliveira are among the names linked to the ride for 2024.

“No, I will not go there,” Marquez said.

“Of course, there are good names on the table. It’s about rumours.

“I understand that, of 100 rumours, one is true. Which one? You don’t know.”

Marquez hopes to make his much-anticipated debut on the Gresini Ducati before the end of 2023 and although there has been no official confirmation this will happen, he said there was a good chance he would ride the Desmosedici at the post-season test at Valencia in Spain next month.

“Still not confirmed, we are talking,” Marquez said. “But it looks like it will be possible.”

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