Six riders that could replace Marc Marquez at Honda

The bombshell news of Marc Marquez leaving Repsol Honda has been confirmed, but who could replace the soon-to-be Gresini Ducati rider for the 2024 MotoGP campaign?
Maverick Vinales, MotoGP race, Indian MotoGP, 24 September
Maverick Vinales, MotoGP race, Indian MotoGP, 24 September

A six-time MotoGP champion with Honda, Marquez will leave the Japanese manufacturer after spending 11 years together.

It’s become clear that Marquez, who is ready to fight for race wins and championships, lost patience with Honda over the last couple of seasons.

But still, the sudden decline for Honda has been astonishing and therefore resulted in Marquez getting out of his contract a year early.

Set to become a Ducati rider, Marquez will leave big shoes to fill but who are the contenders to replace him.

Iker Lecuona

Although the WorldSBK rider wouldn’t be a direct replacement as it’s likely the Spaniard would move to LCR, thus allowing Johann Zarco to move to Repsol, Lecuona is considered of the favourites.

A stand-in rider on multiple occasions so far this season, Lecuona would be the most logical option given his MotoGP experience, growing experience with the RC213V and his relatively low cost. 

Lecuona already confirmed prior to the Portimao WorldSBK round that he would be staying with Honda in 2024, although the team and championship was not mentioned.

Jake Dixon

One of the biggest talents in Moto2 and a constant threat to Pedro Acosta, Dixon has taken a big step forward in 2023 which is why his name has been linked to MotoGP seats.

With the Gresini seat heading the way of Marquez, Dixon could secure a premier class move with a switch to LCR, again making him a non-direct replacement for Marquez.

British broadcaster TNT Sports touted the idea of Dixon being an option for Honda at the last round in Japan. 

Celestino Vietti

Another Moto2 rider and one that would be a major surprise is Celestino Vietti. After challenging for the title in the first half of 2022, the Italian suffered a big dip in form which carried into the current Moto2 campaign.

However, Vietti has once again reminded everyone of his talent in recent rounds after winning in Austria and finishing second at Misano.

A rider that is also attracting MotoGP interest for 2025, Vietti has an outside chance of making that a reality in 2024 by joining LCR Honda, which would again mean Zarco moves to Repsol alongside Joan Mir. 

Maverick Vinales

The biggest name on this list and one that, like Vietti, comes as a potential surprise is Vinales who has reportedly been contacted by Honda.

Vinales is very happy at Aprilia, a feeling the team shares regarding the Spaniard, making this a near-impossible move for Honda.

Vinales is also on a much more competitive package so tempting the former Suzuki and Yamaha rider away from Aprilia would be very challenging. 

Miguel Oliveira 

Miguel Oliveira, Tissot sprint race, MotoGP, Japanese MotoGP, 30 September
Miguel Oliveira, Tissot sprint race, MotoGP, Japanese MotoGP, 30 September

Like Vinales, Oliveira has been contacted by Honda who have been in touch with nearly every rider on the grid as they desperately look for a replacement for Marquez.

Capable of winning MotoGP races in both wet and dry conditions, Oliveira could bring a lot to Honda, including his ability to quickly adapt to a new bike.

Consistency has also been a strength of Oliveira’s during his time in MotoGP, especially when he's had a competitive package.

Fabio Di Giannantonio

If Honda misses out on a rider of Vinales or Oliveira’s talent, then another option could be Fabio Di Giannantonio.

The Italian is set to be replaced by Marquez at Gresini and will be looking for a seat in order to remain on the MotoGP grid.

Di Giannantonio has shown flashes in recent races which could be enough for Honda to take a chance on the 24-year-old.

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