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Analysis

What Marquez would have to give up to sign for the factory Ducati MotoGP team

Marc Marquez would have to give up almost all of his personal sponsors, not just Red Bull, in order to join the factory Ducati MotoGP team next season.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Marc Fleury

When the first rumours surrounding Marquez's possible arrival to the factory Ducati team next season began to surface, the thesis of Red Bull's sponsorship quickly emerged as an insurmountable barrier to the success of the operation.

Marquez relied on his private sponsors, most notably Red Bull, when he decided to forgo the money that would have come with the final year of his Honda contract in order to join Gresini in 2024 to ride a year-old Ducati.

FEATURE: The elements that will determine Ducati's second factory team rider for 2025

The move, which some described as brave and others as reckless, also meant leaving behind a factory structure to join a satellite formation, in exchange for competing with the prototype with which Francesco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin battled for the 2023 title with.

The sacrifice for Marquez, at least financially, was enormous, but the Spaniard is starting to receive the first rewards: "I'm having more and more fun riding and the results are starting to come," he explained at the French Grand Prix, where he came from 13th on the grid to finish second in both races at Le Mans.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Marc Fleury

At 31 years of age, Marquez sees on his horizon the real possibility of becoming an official Ducati rider, riding the most competitive bike at the moment and, in his opinion, the one that offers him the best guarantee of being able to become champion for the seventh time in the premier class.

However, this new step in the roadmap he has drawn in his head puts him at another crossroads that requires him to make a new decision. And, once again, the economic aspect plays a determining role in the path he takes.

If we take into account the global agreement in force between Ducati and Monster Energy, which expires at the end of 2025, Marquez would have to end his link to the most loyal ally he has had in his career in Red Bull.

"Hopefully we'll get to that point. At that point, everything can be talked about," agreed Marquez in a recent interview with Motorsport.com on the subject.

The answer was as formal as it was ambiguous, given that the incompatibility is obvious if we are talking about a coexistence between two brands in direct competition.

At Le Mans, last weekend, he was insisted on the subject, and this time he left less doubts: "In life, sometimes you have to make decisions that you don't like or don't want to have to make. We are all here to win, and for that we have to look for the best conditions at all times. We have to take everything into consideration."

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Clash of up to five sponsors

The alliance between #93 and Red Bull would not be the only one that would have to be broken in case Ducati chooses him as Bagnaia's new team-mate at its factory team.

If we take a look at the sponsors of the Borgo Panigale team and those of the Catalan, up to four more brands would come into conflict.

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The first is Samsung, an electronics manufacturer linked to the multi-champion and which rivals Lenovo, which is Ducati's title sponsor.

Allianz, the insurance company for which Marquez is one of its main faces, is also a direct competitor of UnipolSai. Oakley, the eyewear company that dresses the Gresini rider, rivals Carrera, with which the Bolognese manufacturer's riders advertise.

Finally we find Estrella Galicia, sponsor of the Marquez brothers for years, which would come into conflict with Contadi Castaldi, which operates in the field of sparkling wines.

In short, Marquez would have to leave practically all his current personal sponsors in order to race with the factory Ducati outfit, or at least temporarily suspend his relationship with them.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Now open to racing with a satellite team

Maybe for these reasons or maybe for others, but what is certain is that Marquez's discourse took a turn at Le Mans.

On his arrival at Jerez for the Spanish GP, he was asked directly what his opinion of Pramac - Ducati's only factory-backed satellite team - was, and whether he might consider a move there in 2025. "Pramac is a good team, but it's not official," he replied, emphatically.

Last Sunday at Le Mans, after crossing the finish line second behind championship leader and Pramac rider Jorge Martin, he moderated his words more, which hinted that his priority for next year is to have the latest specification of Desmosedici with direct support from the factory above donning the red factory suit.

"Next year I want to try to have the latest evolution, any bike, any colour, any brand," he said. "Because to fight for the world championship you have more opportunities".

This outcome would not only allow him to make a leap and face an eventual title challenge with all the technical guarantees of a factory rider, but would also open the door for him to keep his sponsors.

It would also be the best scenario for Ducati, which could retain Martin with a promotion to its factory squad while also having arguably the best rider of the last decade in Marquez on a third of its works bikes in 2025. 

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