Valentino Rossi comments on Marc Marquez’s move to the Ducati camp and the fact that his VR46 team will not receive the latest factory equipment in 2024
At the MotoGP test in preparation for 2024, which took place on Tuesday of this week at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, the focus of interest was on Marc Marquez’s Ducati debut. The six-time MotoGP World Champion is not yet officially allowed to comment on his first impressions on a Ducati because he is still under contract with Honda until the end of the year
A leaked video from the Gresini garage nevertheless provides Marc Marquez’s first feedback on the Ducati. On his debut for Gresini-Ducati, the long-time Honda rider did not ride the Ducati Desmosedici GP22, as used by the Gresini team in the 2023 MotoGP season. Instead, Marquez was given the GP23 on the very first day, which he will ride in the 2024 racing season.
Marquez’s switch to a Ducati after eleven years on a Honda is naturally also a topic of discussion in the other teams – not least in the other Ducati teams. On the sidelines of the MotoGP season finale in Valencia, just a few days before Marquez’s first Ducati test, his arch-rival, current VR46 team owner Valentino Rossi, also commented on this.
“It will be interesting to see how Marc will adapt and how Ducati will handle the situation,” Rossi told Sky Sports Italia on the Valencia race weekend. And from his point of view as team owner of VR46-Ducati, “The Doctor” added: “Marc will be very dangerous. Our guys will have to be very well prepared.”
Both the Gresini team with brothers Marc and Alex Marquez and the VR46 team with Marco Bezzecchi and ex-Gresini rider Fabio Di Giannantonio will use the Ducati GP23 with the technical specification from the end of the 2023 season in the 2024 MotoGP season.
“We had hoped that we would get a factory bike from Ducati for Bezzecchi,” Rossi said, explaining that the VR46 team was confident of getting a GP24. However, as this wish will not be fulfilled for 2024, Rossi says: “Now we just have to hope that the difference between the GP23 and the GP24 will not be very big, so that we will be able to fight for the world title with ‘Bez’.”
The Ducati factory team with the now two-time MotoGP World Champion Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia already tried out the prototype of the GP24 last Tuesday at the Valencia test. There will be further developments before the Sepang test in February 2024.
On his first laps with the GP24 in Valencia, Bagnaia noticed an improvement in how he feels the engine power. Vice-champion Jorge Martin from the Pramac team also rode the GP24 for a few laps on Tuesday. In contrast to Bagnaia, however, Martin’s comments on the new engine were not yet so positive