Gresini: ‘Crucial’ to be at the maximum from first race

On the one hand, Marc Marquez and Gresini should get stronger as the eight-time world champion gains experience on a Ducati Desmosedici.
Marc Marquez, Ducati MotoGP Valencia 2023
Marc Marquez, Ducati MotoGP Valencia 2023

On the other, having a year-old bike means the opening rounds of this season might offer some of his best chances of success.

While Gresini and VR46 can call upon set-up data used by last year’s factory riders to hit the ground running, the official teams will start the year with unfamiliar new parts.

But once such new parts are better understood, and as other developments arrive, the year-old riders will face a bigger performance gap.

Since switching from Aprilia to Ducati in 2022, the opening rounds of the season have been fruitful for Gresini.

Enea Bastianini blasted to victory on his Gresini debut at the 2022 Qatar opener, one of three wins from the first seven races. Replacement Alex Marquez then claimed a debut Desmosedici podium in only his second grand prix for the team, in Argentina last year.

“I don't know [what the gap between the GP24 and GP23 will be], but we have to reach the maximum with what we have,” team manager Michele Masini said. “For sure, we start with already one year of data so it will be crucial for us to be at the maximum from the first race.”

Round four at COTA in mid-April is likely to be among the early rounds circled on Marquez’s calendar, having been beaten just twice at the Texan track since 2013.

Meanwhile, Masini isn't concerned that the new restrictions placed on Ducati by the concession ranking system will hurt the Italian factory too much.

"We will compete with the [2023] World Champion bike," he said. "I know this [new concessions] is a difficult matter to manage and for sure I don't really like it, because I think that the Ducati engineers deserve a gold medal for their work.

"But we have to see. For sure Ducati will work hard again because also when you win the championship you have to never rest and continue to develop the bike. So I trust in the Ducati engineers to keep making greater and greater bikes."

Gresini will become the first MotoGP team to unveil its 2024 race livery on Saturday, January 20.

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