Ducati chief teases that Marc Marquez was holding back in Sepang

Davide Tardozzi believes Marc Marquez's true potential on a Ducati was hidden in Sepang

Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez

Is it possible that Marc Marquez was intentionally holding back some of his competitiveness at the preseason Sepang test?

We’ll only know for sure when the 2024 MotoGP season begins in Qatar on March 8-10.

But there are already whispers, since the first preseason test ended, that Marquez was withholding his true performance.

Ducati Lenovo team manager Davide Tardozzi was asked about this, and replied: “Marc? He’s an eight-time world champion.

“Marc is Marc Marquez! One of the greatest champions in history.

“I think he is taking his time. He has not shown who he is.

“He will take the time that he needs to ride the bike at the maximum level.

“The possibilities of Marc are higher than what we see here in Malaysia.”

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Broadcaster and ex-racer Simon Crafar reacted: “We all knew it. [Marquez] was methodically working away.

“The pure volume of work that he was doing, 72 laps and the long runs when others had parked up.

“He’s doing the proper homework.

“By Qatar, he’ll be there.”

Marquez was ninth, 14th and sixth across the three days in Sepang.

His opening day was fraught with technical difficulties and he was even forced to clarify that he had not crashed for the first time on a Ducati.

But the Gresini rider started showing ominous signs of progress with his sprint simulation where he posted an average lap time faster than his brother Alex Marquez’s winning pace at last season’s Sepang sprint race.

He also did more laps than anybody else on Day 2 of the test.

Previously, paddock broadcaster Crafar noticed that Marquez was going noticeably wide frequently at the same corner.

He insisted that Marquez was “sandbagging”, and letting the timesheets tell lies to his rivals.

On Monday, a two-day test in Qatar will kick off before the season starts on March 8.

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