The eight-time world champion has been enveloped in gossip that he will switch to the Gresini Ducati squad in 2024 as Honda’s problems in MotoGP persist, though Marquez has continually stated “I have a contract” with HRC.
Monday’s post-race test is seen as vital in Marquez’s decision to remain or leave Honda, with the Japanese marque bringing a prototype 2024 bike, which is already being ridden by wildcard Stefan Bradl at the San Marino Grand Prix.
Marquez made it through to Q2 on Friday after ending second practice sixth having utilised a tow from KTM wildcard Dani Pedrosa, who rode a new carbon fibre chassis today.
Pedrosa joined KTM as a test rider upon his retirement from MotoGP at the end of 2018, after Honda – with whom he spent his entire racing career – felt he wasn’t the right rider to test its bikes.
Asked by Motorsport.com on Friday at Misano if he felt any anger at this decision by Honda given the circumstances, Marquez dodged the question but noted how vital engineers are to a test team, stating that Honda “is reacting” to his wants in this regard.
“It’s true that always the test rider is important, and Dani of course is the best rider possible to test and ride the bike and give comments,” he said.
“But for me, the most important thing for a test rider is the engineers. As you see, Aprilia and Ducati have a normal test rider, not Dani Pedrosa.
“And they are improving a lot. So, in the end, the most important thing still is the engineers and the development side.
“As we see here, Bradl is testing new things and [there are] many new faces in the garage, new engineers. So, yeah, Japan is reacting and this is good.”
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Marquez tried three set-ups across Friday’s practices but felt the Honda’s problem of a lack of traction persisted, which he feels proves the bike is the fundamental issue.
“It’s so strange what is going on, because it’s difficult to understand,” he added.”But in Austria, I chose my set-up. In Montmelo it was Bradl’s set-up. Here again, I chose my set-up.
“The other Hondas in the morning chose Bradl’s set-up but then went a little bit to my set-up and looks like they improved.
“[Takaaki] Nakagami is going a little bit more in Bradl’s set-up if I don’t misunderstand, and [Joan] Mir is going more in my set-up.
“It’s not a small set-up, it’s a big one. But still the time attack for example, I did with another set-up, and I was fast.
“But always the same problems are there, so it means the problems are not coming from the set-up – they’re coming from another part.”