Honda has officially designated Luca Marini as the successor to the six-time MotoGP champion, Marc Marquez. Marini, who is currently a member of the VR46 camp, will be switching to Repsol Honda not only for the 2024 season but also for the 2025. Following Marquez's October announcement that he would be leaving Honda after 11 years together, during which time he amassed an astounding 59 victories and six world titles, the company has made this decision. The 2024 season will be Marquez's first with Gresini Ducati.
Honda's initial choice to fill Marquez's shoes was Miguel Oliveira. However, talks broke down when Honda insisted on a one-year contract that left the door open for extensions until 2025. After losing his ride with Gresini Ducati to Marquez, Fabio Di Giannantonio surfaced as a possible replacement.
Marini's commitment to Honda extends for two years, leaving his teammate Joan Mir, who suffered a hard maiden season on the Honda RC213V, alone in the factory line-up with a contract year ahead. During Tuesday's scheduled end-of-season test, Marini will make his RC213V debut.
MotoGP: About Luca Marini
Luca Marini debuted in the top category in 2021 with the VR46-backed portion of the Avintia team, before Valentino Rossi's team assumed grid positions in 2022.
His two years with VR46 were highly successful, highlighted by a first-place result in the United States Grand Prix and a third-place finish in the Grand Prix of Qatar in the same year. Marini, who had been under contract with VR46 for the 2024 season, stood out as a potential replacement for Marc Marquez at factory Honda during the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend. The announcement of the breakup between VR46 and Marini was made at the Valencia Grand Prix on Saturday.
MotoGP: 2024 Valencia Test
The season finale delivered a memorable showdown between Francesco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin, capping off an incredible racing season.
On November 28, at the Valencia postseason test, Marc Marquez will ride for the first time on a Ducati. The speed he exhibits in this first outing post-Honda departure may possibly set the tone for the duration of the 2024 season. As if that weren't exciting enough, Franco Morbidelli, fresh off his move from Yamaha to join Pramac, will be making his Ducati debut as well.
Meanwhile, Alex Rins is going to inherit the Yamaha, signalling a huge transition for the skilled rider. For newbies like Pedro Acosta, who will be testing MotoGP machinery for the very first time on November 28th, the upcoming test is not merely an important performance trial for known names.
This test day is especially significant because it is the first time the MotoGP riders will be wearing their new team colours and riding their brand-new, highly anticipated machines. The final preseason test is more than just a sneak peek at the riders' new technical setups for the approaching racing season; it's also a visual treat to watch them adopt their new personas.