until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Why Marquez is saying no to Pramac - and what it means

by Valentin Khorounzhiy, Simon Patterson
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez threw a spanner in the works of the ongoing silly season by declaring that he will not sign for Ducati's current leading satellite team Pramac.

Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport reported in the lead-up to the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello - the final round before MotoGP heads off to a month-long summer break - that Ducati has made its decision over who will partner Pecco Bagnaia in the works team in 2025.

It claims that Jorge Martin is set to get the nod over Marquez, pending the last contract details being ironed out, and while both Martin and Marquez insisted they weren't aware of a final decision being made, Martin sounded optimistic.

"For sure the deal is not done. It was a first contact and I think everything went well," he told MotoGP.com. "Let's see if we can put everything together and finally close this deal."

Marquez, for his part, insisted that "what I have, the news from Ducati, is not like this" - but it was another answer in his own MotoGP.com interview that piqued everyone's attention.

"Pramac is a very good team, as Martin showed. Has a very good potential. But it's not an option for me."

Marquez's public refusal of the Pramac option takes a potential best-case scenario for the Bologna firm off the table - as ideally, it would keep both Pramac (which is being targeted by Yamaha) and Marquez, and putting the two of them together would be the most elegant way to do that.

But when asked by The Race during the Italian GP pre-event press conference whether the works team and his current team Gresini were his only two 2025 options in the Ducati camp, he replied in the affirmative.

This is an important distinction, as it backs up Marquez's assertion that his priority for next year is factory-spec machinery. The Spaniard is keen to fight for the championship next year, and while he is already in outside title contention this year on a 2023-spec Ducati, he sees a factory-spec bike as integral going forward.

Yet the inclusion of Gresini as an option confirms that it does not need to be a factory bike at a factory team.

So why won't he entertain a Pramac move?

"I mean, because I will not move from one satellite team to another," he said, before reiterating his interest in "more facilities, like a factory team, like with a last-version bike, you need to try to have them if you want to fight for the championship".

Elsewhere, Marquez said of his 2025 outlook: "I am very comfortable because I have three different scenarios I feel comfortable [with]. It's not like I have only one option."

What it means

In a way, Marquez is taking a page out of Marco Bezzecchi's book, but with the belief that his clout, his 2024 form and his track record of success will bring him something that Bezzecchi couldn't get for himself.

Last year, Bezzecchi faced a choice between joining Pramac, which guaranteed a works-spec bike, and staying at the familiar confines of VR46. He decided for the latter, even when it meant an older machine for another season - as while VR46 had tried to negotiate an upgrade, it always appeared a non-starter from Ducati's side.

Pramac's deal guaranteed it works-spec bikes, and Ducati was unwilling to expand beyond running four of them - having already run five in 2022 and having found that experience unfruitful.

Marquez is enjoying life with Gresini and clearly feels a certain connection with the team, even outside of the obvious fact that it employs his brother Alex - who he gets on with so marvellously.

So while the idea of getting a rider of Marquez's calibre was the perfect carrot to dangle in front of Pramac as Ducati sought to fight off Yamaha's interest, that carrot's been chewed up by Marquez's public rhetoric.

To keep him and keep Pramac, Ducati would presumably need to get the team to agree to cede one of its works-spec bikes to Gresini, which you would have to think is a non-starter given how seriously Pramac is already though to be tempted by the Yamaha switch.

Without Marquez, the best line-up Ducati could probably offer Pramac is a combination of Enea Bastianini or another experienced rider and rookie Fermin Aldeguer - attractive but not the blockbuster that a Marquez arrival promised to be.

It is possible, then, that Marquez is putting Ducati in a position where it may have to allow itself to lose Pramac to ensure he remains.

Marquez's "three options" aren't a matter of public record right now, but there's a good chance the non-Ducati one is a spot at Tech3 Gas Gas, as parent company Pierer Mobility Group is thought to have been active on the rider market.

Marquez said he has a deadline for a 2025 decision, one driven by his commitments to his sponsors, and any decision will clearly come much earlier than it had done last year.

He wouldn't divulge what it was but said he definitely wanted things to be resolved before the Sachsenring round in July. Truthfully, though, things seem to be moving much too fast for everyone involved to wait that long.

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