‘Four-second’ race difference between Ducati GP23 and GP24?

Marc Marquez estimates the difference between the performance of his GP23 and the factory-spec GP24s.

Francesco Bagnaia, Marc Marquez
Francesco Bagnaia, Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez believes his rate of progression on the year-old GP23 saw him win the battle for the coveted factory Ducati seat over MotoGP world championship leader Jorge Martin.

Martin was the obvious choice on paper, finishing runner-up Francesco Bagnaia last season and currently 18 points clear of the Italian at the top of this year’s standings for the satellite Pramac team.

Marquez hasn’t won a MotoGP race since his final Repsol Honda victory at Misano 2021, but Martin has taken six grand prix victories and 12 Sprint wins in the past 15 months.

However, while Martin rides a GP24 equal on spec to Bagnaia, Marquez’s year-old bike is of an even lower spec than the likes of Bagnaia and Martin at the end of last season (Marquez does not have the latest ride-height device for example).

Asked about the difference in performance between the GP24 and GP23 during an interview with AS.com, Marquez estimated it as around “two tenths per lap, and that is four seconds in a race.”

To put that figure into context, of the five out of seven (Sunday) Grands Prix Marquez has finished without falling this season, his margin to victory has been: 

  • +3.429s (4th, Qatar).
  • +0.372s (2nd, Jerez).
  • +0.446s (2nd, Le Mans).
  • +10.491s (3rd, Catalunya).
  • +2.064s (4th, Mugello).

In other words, less than 4-seconds at four GPs...

Ducati Corse general manager Gigi Dall’Igna and his engineers know the performance difference between the 2023 and 2024 Desmosedicis better than anyone and can also weigh up rider talent by comparing eight sets of data.

“You have to play all your cards,” Marquez said of securing the coveted factory ride.

“The card that weighs the most is the track and the Ducati engineers, as they have told me, are watching my progression with the 2023 bike and that has weighed much more than [anything else].”

The difference in bike spec to Martin was also the main reason Marquez didn’t feel the factory Ducati seat should simply be awarded to whichever of them finished higher in this year’s world championship.

“To do that, you have to have the same weapons, and now I don't have them,” he said. “But it's no excuse and I'm showing that I can be competitive.

“Another thing is that I was very clear that I was not going to change from one satellite team to another [Pramac].

“And the third point, athletes have contracts with sponsors… and cannot wait [until the end of the season]. It was unfeasible.”

So far this season, the new GP24s have claimed 6 victories, with Aprilia's Maverick Vinales the only other winner. 

After the opening seven rounds of last season, year-old GP22s had taken 2 race wins (with Marco Bezzecchi) vs. 4 wins for the GP23s.

However, Marquez's current third place and 35 points from the top is almost identical to Bezzecchi's third and -34 points at the same stage last season.

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