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Marquez receives green light to ride Ducati in Valencia MotoGP test

Marc Marquez has received permission to sample Ducati’s MotoGP bike in the post-season test at Valencia next month.

Alex Marquez, Gresini Racing, Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

The six-time MotoGP champion will get to ride last year’s GP22 bike at Circuit Ricardo Tormo on November 28, two days after the final round of the season at the Spanish venue.

It follows a mutual agreement between Marquez and Honda to terminate their contract a year early, leaving the Spaniard free to join his younger brother Alex at the satellite Gresini squad.

Although the departure of Marquez is a big blow for Honda during its worst-ever phase in grand prix racing, the Japanese manufacturer is already working on a future without its biggest star.

Honda also acknowledges the role Marquez has played in its success over the last decade, and both parties have tried to make their separation as amiable as possible.

One of the requests Honda made to Marquez was to not talk about his new team or bike until the end of the season. As things stand, no official announcement has been made about his move to Gresini in 2024, even though it is set in stone.

But the Japanese manufacturer is not standing in the way of the six-time champion getting an early chance to try out the class-leading Ducati Desmosedici before he switches camps in 2024.

This means that Marquez will be able to acclimate himself with the Gresini squad and ride a Ducati in the traditional post-season test, just days after his final race weekend with Honda in Valencia on November 24-26.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Although manufacturers usually allow departing riders to test for a rival team at the end of the year, there have been some cases where such permission wasn't granted. Most famously, Honda did not allow Valentino Rossi to ride the Yamaha until January 1, 2004. However, it must be noted that Rossi didn’t announce he would be leaving Honda until November 10, eight days after the end of his title-winning 2003 campaign.

More recently though, Jorge Lorenzo was able to get on the Ducati at the 2016 Valencia test ahead of his high-profile move to the Italian brand in ‘17, having received the necessary approvals from Yamaha.

Two years later he made his Honda debut at the same venue, after the Japanese marque signed him from Ducati to join Marquez.

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Lorenzo went on to retire from MotoGP after a solitary season with Honda and the second factory RC21V has since been raced by a number of riders, including Marquez’s own brother Alex, Pol Espargaro and most recently, Joan Mir.

Mir will stay at Honda next year as part of his two-year deal, and the Repsol-backed team has recently shortlisted RNF Aprilia’s Miguel Oliveira as its primary target to replace Marquez.

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