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Ducati: Time to sign Marc Marquez in MotoGP has passed

Ducati boss Paolo Ciabatti admits the Italian manufacturer ‘doesn’t need’ six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez in its line-up, and that the time to sign him has passed.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Marquez is in the penultimate year of a four-season deal with Honda, which he signed at the start of 2020 prior to suffering the badly broken right arm that would derail his career.

The eight-time world champion – who won six MotoGP titles in seven years between 2013 and 2019 – has made it clear that his wish is to remain with Honda, but will look outside of the Japanese marque if it does not give him the bike he needs to fight for more crowns.

This comes as Honda looks to engineer its way out of its second winless campaign in three years in 2022, with pre-season testing so far revealing HRC is a long way from being competitive.

For years, Marquez has been frequently linked to rival manufacturers, but it seems now the door – at least for now – is shut on him ever riding for Ducati.

Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com's Spanish language sister website Motorsport.es, Ciabatti says Ducati would happily discuss a potential future with Marquez should he enquire – but feels its current stable of young riders, which includes 2022 champion Francesco Bagnaia, means the Spaniard does not fit into the equation.

“It’s not that Ducati doesn’t need an ‘extra-terrestrial’ like Marc; it’s that Ducati already has its own,” Ciabatti said.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“Only one [rider] won the world championship, leading 189 laps, with more than 200 [points] ahead of second, which was [Fabio] Quartararo.

“Never say never, but Marquez is 30 years old and we have riders five and six years younger, with room for growth.

“I don’t think Ducati needs Marc, and I say that with the utmost respect.

“We already have enough riders who are eager to make it to the factory team without thinking about signing him.

“Obviously, if he calls us tomorrow to ask for a meeting, we won’t hang up on him.

“But the time for Marc to sign for Ducati was a few years ago, now it’s no longer the case.”

Marquez’s younger brother Alex Marquez will be a Ducati rider in 2023, with the double podium finisher moving from LCR Honda to Gresini.

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