Jorge Martin’s ominous prediction for Marc Marquez’s first race on a Ducati

Jorge Martin has solved his fairing problem - and comments on Marc Marquez's three-day test

Jorge Martin, Sepang MotoGP test, 7 February
Jorge Martin, Sepang MotoGP test, 7 February

Jorge Martin watched Marc Marquez over the three-day Sepang test and now expects him to fight for the win at the first MotoGP round of the season.

Marquez’s switch from Repsol Honda to Gresini Ducati could create a fascinating addition to the 2024 MotoGP championship picture, which Pramac’s Martin hopes to be involved in again.

While Marquez went somewhat under the radar at the Sepang test, his rivals are not fooled.

“He’s where I expected,” Martin said about Marquez, who finished sixth-fastest on Thursday, with the sixth-fastest average lap time over long runs..

“He will be really close to the victory in Qatar.”

MotoGP riders have a two-day test in Qatar before the first round on March 8-10.

Martin, who narrowly missed out on last year’s title to factory Ducati rival Francesco Bagnaia, was asked if they would resume their battle immediately.

“I don’t know, I don’t know, whatever,” he replied.

“I am focused on myself to improve my skills and my riding skills. The rest will come.

“I can guess that the sprints of last season will help a lot. Hopefully, I can be the one to try to beat Pecco.

“I feel ready for everything.

“But these tests? Difficult to analyse. A lot of riders have great pace but we don’t know their tyres.

“It won’t only be Pecco and me. There will be many more riders.”

Was Martin surprised by anyone at the Sepang test?

“No,” he insisted. “All the things that I expected happened.

“A lot of strong riders who will be fighting for the title this season.”

Jorge Martin, Sepang MotoGP test, 8 February
Jorge Martin, Sepang MotoGP test, 8 February

Martin was second-fastest on a productive third and final day of the Sepang test.

He trailed pace-setter Bagnaia by +0.172s in an intriguing sign for the races ahead.

But his average lap across long runs was better than Bagnaia’s, and second only to Fabio di Giannantonio.

Crucially, Martin and Pramac have also solved their fairing issue.

On Wednesday, Martin complained that he didn’t like the new 2024 fairing - but Bagnaia and Enea Bastianini fed back completely opposite comments.

Martin has now said: “I was with a new fairing which yesterday I didn’t like. We changed the set-up.

“Straight away, I felt good and I did a great lap.

“I did a small mistake in Turn 3 but the rest of the lap was impressive. Going under ‘57 was nice.

“Finally, I think yesterday I had a headache because I saw Pecco and Enea liked it. But I didn’t!

“It was strange that we didn’t have the same comments.

“So today, straight away in the morning, I felt competitive. Then I did the back-to-back, it was better, with more potential.

“We have the package for 2024.”

He described how the 2024 fairing is better than last year’s: “It is more stable. We have more downforce. You have to get used to it.

“It’s slower changing direction so you have to change the bike.

“Maybe, the riding style also.

“But overall it’s a positive way to go. It has a lot of potential.

“We have to understand how to get the maximum out of it but I feel good.”

He said about his long run on Thursday: “Yes, quite good. On the second lap maybe I pushed too much.

“The tyre was suffering a lot.

“It was nice to see 10 laps in a row because we had some issues with [the tyres at the end of last year]! I cannot say a lot. But we had issues with the soft rear.

“This is good information for the race, because maybe it’s not the choice for the Sunday race.

“The pace was the fastest of the Ducatis.

“I feel comfortable, strong. Overall, I feel OK to start the season.”

Martin enters the season among the two or three favourites for the championship, emboldened by last year’s near-miss.

“I feel quite strong,” he said. “I have the experience now. I am more precise in my comments, also.

“We have taken a step forward. Last year, I had the new bike and felt super good.

“This year we had to work more but finally arrived at a stronger base.”

Read More