Honda ‘not surprised’ to see Marc Marquez on top during Ducati debut

Marc Marquez’s former Repsol Honda team manager Alberto Puig said nobody should have been surprised to see the #93 on top of the timesheets during his Ducati debut at the Valencia MotoGP test.
Joan Mir, Marc Marquez, Valencia MotoGP test, 28 November
Joan Mir, Marc Marquez, Valencia MotoGP test, 28 November

After signing off his eleven-year Repsol Honda career with an emotional Sprint podium, then a collision with Jorge Martin in the Grand Prix, Marquez was smiling from his first laps on the Gresini Ducati.

The eight-time world champion, winless for over two years at Honda, even moved to the top during the middle of the afternoon.

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It was while the #93 was leading the timesheets that Puig was asked by Dorna’s Jack Appleyard if he was surprised by his former rider’s performance:

"Not surprised at all, frankly speaking,” Puig replied. “What were people expecting? It's quite obvious for us... We know the rider and we can see the potential of other bikes [the Ducati]. Zero surprised."

Marquez went on to finish the test in fourth place but just 0.171s from leader Maverick Vinales.

Luca Marini, Valencia MotoGP test 28 November
Luca Marini, Valencia MotoGP test 28 November

Meanwhile, Honda’s new signing Luca Marini made an encouraging start to his factory career with tenth place and 0.7s from the top, as the fastest RC213V rider.

The Italian appeared to only use the 2024 prototype.

"[Marini] contacted us and we are happy that he showed a lot of interest in coming to race for us,” Puig said. “We are happy that he is here and I'm sure he can bring us very good information because he's been racing for another manufacturer [Ducati].

“Of course, this bike is different for him, but he already gave good information and he is very precise in his comments. We are pleased with how he has managed the day.”

Team-mate Joan Mir, returning to the Repsol Honda garage after missing the Valencia weekend after neck pain from a Friday fall, was 13th (+0.798s)

“[Mir’s] quite pleased with the things we’ve gained. Still some things are not as they should be, but as you can see, he's made a step and the feeling of the [new] bike is different in a good way."

Honda, like Yamaha, will benefit from maximum access to the new range of technical concessions in 2024.

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