“Marquez on Course for Title Fight, Jorge Martin Proving a Tough Opponent”

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Strategic Marc Marquez Relies on Potential for “Contenders to Fall Due to Crashes and Injuries” while Leveraging Title Experience

Simon Crafar believes Marc Marquez is “positioned as a MotoGP championship contender” midway through this season.

This weekend’s Portuguese MotoGP marks the second round of the 2024 season and Marquez’s second opportunity to showcase his skills on a Ducati.

Following his P5 and P4 finishes at the season-opener in Qatar, highlighting a potential not seen last year on the Honda, Crafar commented from the Portimao paddock, “Marc is on track. That’s the best way to put it.”

“He has set himself a target. He’s an extremely seasoned rider, the most experienced in the field when it comes to winning championships and races.

“He understands that championships are akin to wet races.

“At the start, everyone charges in enthusiastically and gets carried away. You inevitably lose some contenders to crashes and injuries.

“The key to coming out on top is to avoid that!”

“He didn’t engage in a battle [at the end of the Qatar MotoGP], he recognized that Jorge Martin had more pace, so he brought it home.

“He is on track to contend for the championship.

“At the midway point, to be among the few remaining who can vie for the title.

“That’s his ultimate goal, what he’s striving for. Stay on the bike, secure results, gather points…”

The Portimao round this weekend presents a fresh and tougher challenge because, unlike Qatar, Marquez hasn’t previously tested his Ducati at this circuit.

“The real challenge is here because it’s the first circuit where we haven’t tested,” Crafar explained.

“If your bike is working well and you feel comfortable on it, Portimao is fantastic to ride. If not, it’s daunting, it feels risky, with numerous places where you can lose control.

“Both Pedro Acosta and Marc haven’t ridden their bikes here. It will be intriguing to see how quickly they can adapt throughout the weekend.”

At 31 years old, the eight-time world champion’s age poses additional challenges in adjusting after 11 years at Honda, but Crafar remains supportive of Marquez.

“Marc is 31. I’ve found that’s when the difficult stage of adapting to change begins,” Crafar explained.

“He’s on a new bike, figuring it out.

“In your 20s, you’re like a sponge. In your 30s, you have ingrained habits that are tough to alter.

“Marc is doing an admirable job thus far. By the midway point, he’ll be in the mix!”

Despite Marquez’s promising start with his GP23, the dominance of the GP24 poses a significant challenge for him.


Francesco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin, last year’s champion and runner-up, claimed victory in the first Grand Prix and Sprint Race respectively this year, riding the evolved Ducati.

“People like Jorge Martin are a tough challenge for him,” Crafar remarked about Marquez.

“Boom, into Q2! Boom, onto the front row! How do you pass them when you’re still fine-tuning your bike setup?

“He’s adapting. He’ll find the right setup and know how to challenge the competition with it. He will grow stronger.”

Crafar added that the ’24 Ducati, in the hands of both the factory and Pramac teams, is a bike that “hits the sweet spot” in terms of development from the version Marquez currently rides.

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