Alex Marquez ‘suffered, felt alone’ in final Honda MotoGP season | MotoGP

While the RC213V scored just two podiums and was sixth and last in the constructors’ standings, Marquez arguably had the least competitive version on the grid.

Not only was he once again riding for the satellite LCR team, but when he inked a 2023 contract to join Gresini Ducati in June the chance of receiving any developments parts all but vanished.

The end result was just 50 points over the 20 rounds, 17th in the world championship and three top ten finishes, the best of which was seventh place at Portimao.

To put that into perspective, Marquez had scored 74 points (and two podiums) over 14 rounds as a rookie at Repsol Honda in 2020.

Speaking at Saturday’s team launch, the 26-year-old admitted that the ‘suffering’ he went through last season took a toll on him mentally.

“It’s true that after the Valencia test I took some break, because I was a little bit on the limit on the head side about bikes and all this. I finished the season a little bit on the limit for all the situation,” Marquez said.

“As I mentioned many times, I felt a little bit alone inside the box, but it’s something from the past now. Yeah, I suffered, but I learned also from that situation.

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“It wasn’t easy for everybody. Suffering with the bike, suffering with the [parts] and all this, but I cannot complain about the LCR team. They have been there with me all the time. I had a really good crew and in Valencia it was really emotional to leave the team, but it’s something that I needed.

“[Joining Gresini Ducati] is a great opportunity for me. I felt a really great and warm welcome to Valencia. I went to the Ducati factory in December. So the feeling and the emotions are great, motivation is always high because last season I was in a difficult situation but I never lost the motivation and now we need to keep going like this.”

Why European manufacturers have the edge in MotoGP

Francesco Bagnaia’s MotoGP title victory is only the second time a European manufacturer has won the 500cc/MotoGP crown in the last 48 years, the other being fellow Ducati rider Casey Stoner in 2007.

But the feeling is that the once dominant Japanese brands, now reduced to just Honda and Yamaha, have lost the edge technically against the more aggressive development style of the European factories.

Indeed, last season saw Ducati, KTM and Aprilia win a combined 15 of 20 races, with three victories by Yamaha’s reigning champion Fabio Quartararo and two for Suzuki’s Alex Rins.

“It looks like the European manufacturers have some advantage, but it’s not an advantage just because they are [based] in Europe or something,” Marquez stressed.

“No, they have a [different] mentality of working that at the moment is an advantage for their riders.. They are much faster doing new [parts] and all this.

“I think now Ducati is the reference [so] I’m in a great place.”

Marquez is taking over the Gresini seat of four-time 2022 race winner Enea Bastianini, who has been promoted to the factory team alongside Bagnaia.