Marc Márquez says he has three plans for the 2024 season. He does not specify what they consist of, although he claims to be very clear about what he needs to see in the coming weeks to end up choosing any of them. Plan A, presumably, is to fulfill his contract with Honda, the factory where he has won his six MotoGP titles. On paper, it is the most likely despite the fact that in recent weeks he has entered the fray, fueling rumors about a possible departure for the Ducati free of Team Gresini. That would be plan B, despite the reluctance of the leaders of the Bologna brand, without the power to sanction the movement of the client team. Plan C, which no one knew anything about until this Monday, is a mystery.
“I have the three ideas very clear, and of course what must happen to choose one of them,” said the Cervera rider after testing the Honda 2024 in Misano. He was serious, and the atmosphere in the garage did not invite optimism either. The new bike is visibly different, although the times do not point to any type of obvious improvement for now. “The problems are still the same, you drive differently, you face the corners differently, but the performance and lap time, which is what rules in this sport, remains the same,” he noted during the lunch break.
There was still the afternoon session, from which I did not expect much. So it was. She wanted to go home and calmly consider all the options on the table. Very few know the final decision, and Márquez is more secretive than ever when they try to extract a concrete answer from him. ‘El Periódico’ reported this Sunday that the decision to stay had already been made before Monday’s test day, and yet the eight-time champion’s words once again open a question about his future.
Márquez has always maintained that he wants to fulfill his contract. The emotional component of the successful relationship that began in 2013 and the four-year renewal that the golden wing brand extended in 2020, when no one else dared to do so, are very present in his thoughts. Also the willingness of the Japanese firm to pay him his large salary despite the outbreak of the pandemic and the beginning of his ordeal with injuries. Now that he has finally regained his physical tone after four arm operations and several setbacks at the beginning of this year, the Honda’s disastrous performance on the track leads him to once again reconsider his unwavering loyalty.
“The margin, the patience… Time is passing and what you need are not promises, but facts,” he argues at 30 years of age. The great dominator of the last decade has not tasted the honey of victory for almost two years. Precisely in Misano, where he tested the new prototype, came his last triumph in 2021. In Sunday’s race at the San Marino GP he struggled to finish seventh, his best result in 11 months.
Fresh ideas for a radical change
Márquez has held more meetings this year than ever with Honda’s highest-ranking executives. The factory appears to have taken his comments seriously after months of insistence, and at Misano a horde of new faces appeared in the garage to hear their first impressions of the new prototype. He wants technical signings on a European basis, to replicate the success formula of Ducati, Aprilia and KTM, a talent hunt that Alberto Puig has led in recent weeks. The brand, for now, has contributed several of its Japanese engineers from Formula 1, in addition to merging the two- and four-wheel competition division to create more synergies.
The team’s sports director hinted in an interview with DAZN that Honda is finally proposing the radical change that its drivers are asking for. “With small changes we are not moving forward, and that is why we think about more radical solutions,” said Puig from Italy. Joan Mir, world champion in 2020, has also been speaking in the same direction as his teammate for months.
Regarding the timing of his decision, Márquez explained that he plans to pluck the leaves until the end of the month, when the World Cup begins its Asian tour with a double in India and Japan. Although he saw fresh ideas and new faces, the track once again frustrated a champion unable to decide which path to take.
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