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Marquez: Staying third in MotoGP standings "won't be easy"

Staying inside the top three, and not battling for the championship, is Marquez’s main goal for 2024

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Marc Marquez has set out a goal of finishing inside the top three in the MotoGP standings this year, as he admits keeping factory Ducati rider Enea Bastianini behind “won’t be easy”.

Gresini rider Marquez has been a part of MotoGP’s 'big three' group this year alongside reigning champion Francesco Bagnaia and Pramac ace Jorge Martin, with the trio locking out the podium at Le Mans and Catalunya.

But Marquez has found the going increasingly tougher on last year’s GP23, with Bastianini posting a strong threat to him in recent races on the full-factory Desmosedici. Even after scoring a podium finish in the German GP last weekend, the Spaniard has found himself being outscored by Bastianini 61-52 in the last three rounds.

With the 31-year-old now sitting only 11 points clear of the Italian in third place, he says his target is to cement his position instead of hunting down Bagnaia and Martin for the title.

“This first part of the season has been good. Not super, super good because we made some mistakes but it has been good. We are third in the championship,” he summed up at the Sachsenring after finishing second.

“It can be a good target trying to be in the first three positions in the championship because it won't be easy to keep Enea behind. He is a fast rider.

“We will keep fighting, keep learning from the top two guys in the Ducati that are Martin and Bagnaia. They are a bit faster than us.”

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Marquez’s adaptation to the Ducati with Gresini has been nothing short of exceptional, with the six-time MotoGP champion scoring four grand prix podiums in the first nine race weekends and earning himself a factory contract for 2025.

However, there have been some glaring errors as well, particularly his collision with Bagnaia in Portugal and a crash out of the lead of the Americas GP.

His one-lap pace has also been patchy, forcing him to go through Q1 a number of times when he clearly had the pace to qualify on the first four rows. His average qualifying position after Sachsenring was just 7.4, despite a pole position at Jerez.

Asked to look back at his year so far with Gresini and Ducati, Marquez gave himself an 8/10 grade while reiterating that he needs to do a better job in qualifying in order to consistently fight at the front.

“For me, 8 [out of 10] because it was a good start of the season but a few mistakes, especially Austin and then the sprint race in Assen. Two big mistakes. The rest are acceptable,” he said.

“The only thing we need to work on during the second part of the season is to try to make a completely good weekend. All weekends some things happen, [both] small things [and] big things.

“We were a bit inconsistent during the weekends. We saw it in Le Mans, we say it in different races, we need to find a bit more constant [performance] during the weekends and be straight away to Q2 and try to improve the Saturdays.”

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