Marc Marquez fails to end speculation: “I have a contract next year with Honda…”

Another day and another chance for Marc Marquez to extinguish the speculation over his MotoGP future passes without clarification, further fuelling rumours of a shock switch to Gresini Ducati.

Quizzed on comments made to Spanish TV that he already knows what he is doing next year and if, therefore, Monday’s Misano test debut on the 2024 Honda prototype will not be a factor in deciding his future, Marquez replied:

“No, it’s not crucial. For me the most important thing on the Monday test is to try the 2024 bike and give to the engineers the best inputs and direction for the future.”

But you’ve made your decision?

“I have a contract for next year with Honda.”

So that’s your decision?

“I have a contract for next year with Honda!”

The eight-time world champion having a contract with Honda for next year is well known and, of course, not the same as Marquez stating that he will definitely be racing for Honda next season. Which, as Marquez is no doubt aware, would kill off the current rumours in a single sentence.

So is Marquez using the deliberate uncertainty to keep pressure on Honda to revamp its MotoGP project, or has he actually decided to leave? Time will tell.

Marquez has been winless since Misano 2021, with team manager Alberto Puig admitting earlier in the season that, "every person is free to do what he wants in life, and Honda is not a company that wants to have people that are not happy being in Honda.

“So of course, we have a contract with him, but also Honda respects Marc a lot and I want to think yes [Marquez will be a Honda rider in 2024] based on the contract, but I don't have a magic ball...”

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With Luca Marini newly confirmed at VR46, one seat at Pramac Ducati and Gresini Ducati still remains TBC for 2024. Franco Morbidelli is thought all be certain to get the Pramac ride, with official confirmation expected this weekend.

However, until the identity of Alex Marquez’s Gresini team-mate is decided, or Marc Marquez gives an unequivocal answer on his future, the rumours of a shock switch alongside his brother next season will continue - and are indeed growing stronger.

After struggling for the previous two seasons at LCR Honda, Alex Marquez has been instantly competitive at Gresini - including his first podium since 2020, plus a debut pole position and Sprint win on the year-old Desmosedici.

Add to that fellow satellite Ducati riders Jorge Martin and Marco Bezzecchi not only winning grands prix but providing the nearest title opposition to factory Ducati's reigning champion Francesco Bagnaia and many can see the logic in a satellite move that was once dismissed as unthinkable for a giant of the sport like Marquez.

A Repsol Honda rider since his 2013 debut, and winner of 59 premier-class races, Marquez is currently 19th in the world championship after missing three events, and two further races, due to a succession of injuries.

The physical toll of trying to extract speed from the struggling RCV prompted the Spaniard to adopt a new lower-risk approach since Silverstone, only pushing when he feels confident on the bike.

The #93 finally finished a Sunday grand prix with a meagre 12th place in Austria, followed by a 13th last time in Catalunya. His best finish in the new Saturday Sprints is a third place in the Portimao opener, which he also started from pole.

Alex Rins ended Honda's win drought at COTA this year but is presently sidelined by a broken leg and will jump ship to Monster Yamaha at the end of this season.

Marquez's new team-mate and former world champion Joan Mir has only a solitary eleventh place to his name so far this year, having also missed races due to injuries.

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