The crucial detail in negotiations which swayed Luca Marini towards Honda

Repsol Honda’s search for a Marc Marquez replacement took them around the entire MotoGP paddock and, depending upon who you believe, into Moto2 too.
Luca Marini, MotoGP race, Catalunya MotoGP, 3 September
Luca Marini, MotoGP race, Catalunya MotoGP, 3 September

But Luca Marini is now expected to become Repsol Honda’s new rider for the 2024 season.

The long search was brought to a conclusion by agreeing terms with the VR46 rider after one crucial condition was met.

Marini will pen a two-year contract, Sky report, in contrast to the reports of one-year offerings to previous targets.

The security of a two-year deal was “a fundamental condition” for Marini, the report states.

Honda management met Marini's representatives on Saturday night in Sepang. They previously spoke in Indonesia, and now a deal appears to be a formality.

Marquez will head to Gresini Ducati next season, initially tied to the team for only one season.

Honda’s response was to reportedly try to secure a replacement, also just for one year.

Negotiations with Miguel Oliveira seemingly fell apart over the length of the deal. The RNF rider wanted a two or three-year commitment.

Fabio di Giannantonio then became the frontrunner to land the Honda bike, and was willing to accept a one-year contract, according to Sky in Italy.

But Honda have instead opted to sanction a longer deal to bring in Marini which may have implications further down the line.

At the end of 2024, the contracts of most riders on the grid will expire.

That means riders can freely search for the best bike available to them, and teams can dispose of unwanted riders and scour the market for a replacement.

But Marini will, in theory, be tied to Honda throughout 2025 too.

The deal is not yet confirmed but Valentino Rossi and Repsol Honda themselves have been teasing it via social media.

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