Marc Marquez shines on his debut with Ducati in Valencia

Marc Marquez shines on his debut with Ducati in Valencia

Marc Marquez had an exceptional debut as a Ducati rider after finishing as the fourth fastest on the only post-season test day in Valencia.

Six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Márquez joined the Ducati Desmosedici GP team on Tuesday, marking his second manufacturer since joining the MotoGP in 2013 after having previously raced with Repsol Honda for ten years.

The 30-year-old, who had previously spent his whole premier-class career with Honda, appeared to be an ideal match for the Gresini team’s 2023-spec Ducati Desmosedici.

The Gresini rider exhibited an outstanding performance immediately on the Valencia testing day and was among the fastest from the outset. He went so far as to top the timesheets at one point.

The Spaniard came in fourth place with a time of 1m29.424s, 0.171 seconds behind the leader, Maverick Viñales (Aprilia). Márquez finished 49 laps, good for second place among Ducati riders behind VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi.

For the better part of the seven-hour test at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Marquez was within the top of the timing screens and even briefly led the pack before being slightly pushed down the order.

Marco Bezzecchi, who had a major falling out with Marquez during the Valencia round, finished exactly one place ahead of Marquez just a day after being confirmed for 2024. He also finished four places ahead of his new teammate, Fabio Di Giannantonio.

Raul Fernandez finished in fifth place after running among the leaders for the better part of the test. Since RNF Aprilia didn’t get any grid spots for the 2024 season, Fernandez tested with the Aprilia test squad.

NASCAR team Trackhouse is anticipated to take the place of RNF on the grid. Trackhouse will likely keep both Fernandez and Miguel Oliveira, who is currently recovering from an injury.

Marc Marquez’s brother and new Gresini teammate Alex finished sixth fastest and reflected the Ducati GP23 was an improvement over the GP22 he had been riding the entire season.

Both Jack Miller and Binder ran a KTM RC16 with a camouflage livery that debuted a complex new KTM aero package that was competitive right away.

New Honda signing Luca Marini, who, like Di Giannantonio had just been confirmed for 2024 on Monday, was also instantly competitive on the upgraded Honda. He finished in 10th place barely seven tenths off the pace.

Enea Bastianini led Ducati Factory team in eighth place, while the current MotoGP champion Pecco Bagnaia finished in eleventh. Meanwhile, Bagnaia’s main rival for the 2023 championship Jorge Martin, finished 15th for Pramac Ducati after his GP24 bike crashed twice in a matter of minutes early on in the session.

Yamaha was led by Fabio Quartararo in 12th place, seemingly over his fever that had affected his Valencian Grand Prix. Yamaha tested new aero and reported positive feedback from both the test and a gradual update to the prototype 2024 engine.

Some riders made quiet but respectable debuts in their new settings, including rookie Pedro Acosta (Tech3 Gas Gas), Franco Morbidelli (Pramac Ducati), Johann Zarco (LCR Honda), and Alex Rins (Yamaha).

Aprilia test rider Lorenzo Savadori provided an open demonstration of the manufacturer’s new carbon-fibre chassis, while regular rider Aleix Espargaro had to call it quits early due to a “worsening” of the fibula injury he has been coping with since Qatar earlier this month and throughout the Valencia weekend.

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