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All change in MotoGP as Marquez signs for Ducati

Marquez Ducati

MotoGP’s so-called ‘silly season’ has gone into overdrive after Ducati announced the signing of Marc Marquez to their factory team, while championship leader Jorge Martin will quit the Bologna brand to head Aprilia’s charge.

The dominos started to fall into place when veteran Spaniard Aleix Espargaro announced his retirement, making a spot available at the race-winning factory Aprilia team. Last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix was full of speculation about who would be where next year, with Martin, Marquez and the incumbent Enea Bastianini all in contention for the coveted seat alongside world champion Francesco Bagnaia at the official Lenovo Ducati team.

Martin had been tipped by many to be promoted from Ducati’s satellite Pramac team, the talented youngster saying he was only looking to race for a factory team in 2025, and when he was announced as an Aprilia rider on Monday evening the picture became clearer. Bastianini’s manager was quoted as saying his rider would be joining KTM next season, paving the way for eight-time world champion Marquez to take his place at Ducati.

The signing marks a remarkable journey for Marquez. The 31-year-old Spaniard won 59 races and six world titles for the famed Repsol Honda team, but three injury hit seasons spent trying to get good results out of an increasingly uncompetitive machine saw him jump ship and join the privateer Gresini squad for 2024. He currently lies third in the championship, despite running an early 2023 specification Ducati GP23 and those performances have convinced the manufacturer to offer him a plum slot on their top team.

Speaking of the move, Marquez said:

"I am very happy to be able to wear the red colours of the factory Ducati team in MotoGP next season. Basically, from the first contact with the Desmosedici GP, I enjoyed riding it and adapted well straight away. From that moment on, I knew that my goal was to continue this path, to continue to grow, and to move to the team where Pecco Bagnaia has been the world champion for two years in a row. I am happy to be able to take this big step in 2025 and grateful for the trust Ducati has placed in me. Finally, I want to thank Nadia, Carlo, Michele, and the entire Gresini Racing family for opening the door of their team to me at a delicate time in my career. Now, we will continue to have fun and give it our all in what remains of the current season, which is my priority right now."

Ducati boss Gigi Dall’Igna added:

"First of all, I want to thank both Enea Bastianini and Jorge Martín for all their work with us over the last few years, and I wish them all the best for the future. This season, they have shown they have reached an incredible level, and we are sure they will be in the title fight until the end. Deciding on Bagnaia's new teammate in the Ducati Lenovo Team was not easy, as we had a list of very strong riders to choose from. In the end, our choice fell on an unquestionable talent like Marc Márquez. In just a few races, he has managed to adapt perfectly to our Desmosedici GP, and his innate ambition pushes him to grow continuously. In the box, we will have two riders who together hold 11 world titles, and being able to count on their experience and maturity will be invaluable for our growth as well.”

The confirmation of Marquez should see the remaining grid slots fill up quickly. KTM have announced they will promote starlet Pedro Acosta to the factory Red Bull squad, putting Australian Jack Miller’s place in doubt, with Brad Binder and Bastianini expected to fill two of the three remaining spots. Yamaha have already confirmed they will continue with 2021 champ Fabio Quartararo, with only the out of sorts Honda squad still to name their lead rider.

Once again it looks like there will be no full-time rider from Britain or Ireland on the premier class grid, although there are rumours surrounding London-based Joe Roberts taking a step up. The American won the Moto2 race in Italy last year and sits second in the intermediate class standings, boosting his chances of a promotion to the main series next year. Fellow Moto2 front runner Fermin Aldeguer has already been confirmed in the top class. The Spanish teenager will ride a Ducati next year, although the manufacturer has yet to confirm into which team he will be placed.

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