Has Ducati’s stance on signing Marc Marquez changed?

While recent statements from Ducati personnel might have suggested a move to sign six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez was possible in the future, Paolo Ciabatti has seemingly squashed such thoughts.
Marc Marquez, Honda MotoGP Valencia 2022
Marc Marquez, Honda MotoGP Valencia 2022

Ciabatti did not rule out the possibility of Marquez joining Ducati completely, however, it’s evident to the Ducati Corse Sporting Director that focusing on younger MotoGP talent that’s already contracted to the Italian brand is the main priority.

This comes after Ducati General Manager, Luigi Dall’Igna, left the door open to Marquez joining Ducati by saying: “In life you can never know or say.” 

Every Ducati rider on the grid is younger than Marquez, with the exception being Pramac’s Johann Zarco who is 32 years of age - Marquez is 29. 

But while age is just one ingredient that many of the other Ducati riders have on their side compared to Marquez, so is the experience and level of performance many of them have shown aboard Ducati machinery.

Francesco Bagnaia has already become MotoGP champion, while the addition of Enea Bastianini to the Factory Lenovo Ducati Team means they have arguably the best rider pairing on the grid.

Then there’s Jorge Martin who is perhaps the most naturally talented of all Ducati’s riders, while Marco Bezzecchi, who was extremely impressive as a rookie, and Luca Marini have bags of potential too.

Jorge Martin, Valencia MotoGP test, 8 November
Jorge Martin, Valencia MotoGP test, 8 November

In an interview with Tony Vacarella on Instagram, Ciabatti said: "Marc Marquez is a fantastic rider, but he is 5 or 6 years older than the riders we have. So we prefer to focus on the riders who are growing with Ducati. 

"Marc and Alex live together and share a lot of things, so I have no doubts that Marc will ask Alex how things are going… But our plans are different."

Focusing within the Ducati project as opposed to potential signings down the road, Ciabatti could be facing the tough task of keeping the partnership between Bagnaia and Bastianini civil as both riders are expected to fight for the title.

Championship fights between teammates have been few and far between in recent years, but given the form both men showed last season, and the performance of the bike, it’s a distinct possibility in 2023.

Speaking on how he will handle the two Italian riders, Ciabatti added: "Some people ask me how I manage to manage two Italian riders. I answer that it is better to manage two riders who can win the world championship than who cannot."

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