After an initial try-out of the Ducati GP23 at Valencia last year, Marquez got his first proper opportunity to acclimatise to his new bike during a three-day test in Malaysia this week.
The Spaniard ended up sixth on the timesheets on the final day of running, finishing just under six tenths off the pace of factory Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia.
Having already completed 72 laps in the sweltering Malaysian heat on Wednesday, Marquez refused to back down on the last day of the test as he added a sprint race simulation to his run plan.
Speaking afterwards, Marquez admitted that he is some way off the pace of the leading riders, but wants to make sure he doesn’t leave any opportunity to close the gap to the front.
“I was really on the limit,” he said. “For that reason, I was [away for] longer in the break on the mid-day.
“But another sprint simulation was not on the plan after 72 laps yesterday. But I said, ‘Okay, I need to make the last effort’. I don’t know if in the future I will arrive at the level of the top guys but I don’t want to have the gap.
“[To] keep working is the key. I don’t want to have that [comment], ‘Ah, you don’t make that’. I will do and I will insist to try to do it.
He added: “We adjusted a few things on the bike and I also adjusted a few things on my riding style.
“The team also started to understand me better and then the time attack was better. Still half a second to the top guys. But they are super fast on the time attack.”
Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Marquez’s former team-mate Jorge Lorenzo made a similar switch to Ducati in 2017 following a decade-long stint at Yamaha, a move that received mixed reaction from onlookers.
While there was a lot of scepticism regarding whether Lorenzo would ever be able to get accustomed to the way the Ducati handles, he was eventually able to gel well with the Desmosedici to record three victories in his second season with the marque.
Asked if he would be able to adapt to the Ducati to be able to ride it on instincts alone, Marquez said: “I hope, but this definitely takes time. For example when Jorge [Lorenzo] jumped to Ducati, everybody said he would not adapt, he is far.
“But then he started winning races in the middle of the year. My brother [Alex] last year, he started not-so-good and then in the last part of the season was also fast.
“Let’s see if I am able to arrive at the top level. Of course, the level is there but [it’s] not enough. To be faster you need to be on the race track and do what I did these three days, riding, riding, riding.
“For example, one of the problems I can have on race weekends is, in two runs I was already in the laptimes with Honda, but here in these three days it took a lot of time to arrive in a good lap time.
“So in a test it’s possible, but in a race weekend, no. So now I need to understand I have to be faster on a good lap time.”
Marquez feels he is still “too stiff” while riding the Desmosedici at Sepang, explaining how other Ducati riders like Enea Bastianini and Jorge Martin are able to use their bodies to manipulate the bike in corners.
“Step by step I’m working, I’m feeling better,” he said.
“Still I’m riding too stiff on the bike. Still, I cannot play with the body like Bastianini or Martin. It’s true that Pecco is not playing a lot with the body and he is fast, but let’s see.
“Still I need to understand especially the exit of the corners where you really make the lap time with this bike, to try to take the maximum profit.
“For example, the Honda was the opposite. For the time attack, it was more on the entry. With this bike, it is more in the exit.”