The Spanish star has raced for Honda throughout his premier-class career, winning 59 races for the Japanese brand, more than any other rider.

But Marquez hasn't stood on the top step of the MotoGP podium since 2021 and is currently just 15th in the world championship after suffering multiple early-season injuries on the uncompetitive RCV.

Marquez, who took his first podium of the season in his final Japanese GP as a Honda rider last Sunday, is now set to join brother Alex at the satellite Gresini Ducati team next year. A move few would have believed possible just a few months ago.

The official Honda statement confirming the split, a year before the end of Marquez's big-money four-year contract, can be seen below:

Honda Racing Corporation and Marc Marquez to end collaboration early by mutual agreement

'Honda Racing Corporation and Marc Marquez have mutually elected to terminate their four-year contract prematurely at the end of the 2023 MotoGP World Championship season.

'With a year still remaining on the four-year contract between HRC and Marc Marquez, both parties have mutually agreed to end their collaboration upon completion of the 2023 MotoGP World Championship season. Both parties agreed it was in their best interests to each pursue other avenues in the future to best achieve their respective goals and targets.

'This brings an end to 11 years of collaboration between the #93 and HRC in which they achieved six premier class World Championships, five Triple Crowns, 59 wins, 101 podiums and 64 pole positions together.

'Marquez took his debut victory in the premier class aboard the Honda RC213V at the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas in 2013 to become the youngest premier class winner and would become the youngest premier class World Champion later that year. In 2014 he defended his title and won the opening 10 consecutive races of year, going on to also claim titles in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 as an HRC rider with the Repsol Honda Team.

'Both parties will continue to give their full support for the remaining rounds of the 2023 MotoGP World Championship season.

'HRC wish Marc Marquez the best in his future endeavors.'

Marquez and Honda's stunning MotoGP success was brought to a halt by complications to a right arm fracture suffered during a jaw-dropping comeback ride at the 2020 Jerez season-opener.

The eight-time world champion still won three races in between further arm surgery and a return of diplopia (double vision) in 2021.

But while a fourth surgery in May 2022 finally fixed the limb mobility issues, Honda's fortunes continued to tank and it suffered a first winless Grand Prix season since the early 1980s.

'Not the real Marc'

A key moment in Marquez's decision to quit Honda possibly came at this year's Sachsenring round, where Marquez struggled to five falls at a track where he had previously been unbeaten in MotoGP and withdrew from the Sunday race due to his injuries.

An exasperated Marquez also raised eyebrows by giving his bike the middle finger when it tried to fire him off in practice.

The 30-year-old has adopted a more risk-free approach since, only pushing to the limit when he feels confident of avoiding more savage highsides, often meaning just for short bursts in qualifying.

Reigning champion Francesco Bagnaia recently told "[After] Sachsenring something has changed in his mentality. Because this is not the real Marc. This is clear to everybody."

The disappointing debut of a 2024 Honda prototype at the Misano test, a few days after Marquez had fuelled speculation over his future with a 'Things are happening' football transfer-style social media post, may also have played a part.

The instant leap in form by younger brother Alex this season must also have been significant, rocketing to a pole and podium in only his second event on the Ducati after languishing 16th and 17th in the standings during two years at LCR Honda. Alex added a Sprint win and six other top-six finishes before a rib injury in India.

Previous rumours had been of a Marc Marquez switch to KTM, due to mutual sponsor Red Bull. But when the Austrian factory's quest for more grid places was blocked, Gresini became the only viable option.

It is assumed Marquez will agree to an initial one-year deal with Gresini since all the factory MotoGP teams will then have at least one seat free for 2025. So what might Marquez's longer-term goal be?

Valencia test? Crew chief and mechanics? Sponsors?

Of immediate concern for the #93 is surely to negotiate clearance from Honda for a debut with his new team and bike at the Valencia post-race test (something Valentino Ross was famously denied when leaving Honda at the end of 2003).

Marquez will also aim to get as many of his loyal group of mechanics, headed by crew chief Santi Hernandez, to accompany him in his new venture. And which sponsors might also join him?

Since changing from Aprilia to Ducati machinery for the start of 2022, Gresini has won four grand prix races with Enea Bastianini (2022) plus one Sprint victory for Alex Marquez (2023).

VR46's Marco Bezzecchi is also currently third in the world championship on a year-old Ducati, behind only the factory spec bikes of Bagnaia and Jorge Martin, proving the older Ducati machinery is still capable of a title challenge.

Johann Zarco to replace Marquez at Repsol Honda?

Marquez is the second rider to announce a departure from Honda at the end of this year, with COTA winner Alex Rins jumping ship from LCR to Monster Yamaha.

HRC is now expected to shift new signing Johann Zarco from LCR (where he had been planned to ride alongside Takaaki Nakagami) to Repsol, where he would partner Joan Mir.

Iker Lecuona likewise moves into the frame to fill the fourth Honda seat, with Fabio di Giannantonio - whose place Marquez has taken - also expressing an interest in joining Honda.

A place in the record books

Marc Marquez is seeking to become the first rider to win the premier-class title again after losing for more than three years in a row, with Casey Stoner holding the current record for the longest title gap, from 2007 (Ducati) until 2011 (Honda).

One more title would also put Marquez equal with his great adversary Valentino Rossi, who didn't win a race during a very different Ducati era in 2011-2012.

Meanwhile, a rider from a satellite team has never won the 'MotoGP' (since 2002) crown, although Martin (riding a factory-spec Ducati at Pramac) is now just three points behind official Ducati rider Bagnaia.

Marc and Alex had been due to be MotoGP team-mates at Repsol Honda in 2020, but Marc's injury at the opening round meant Alex spent most of his rookie year alongside HRC test rider Stefan Bradl.