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It’s official: MotoGP maestro Marc Márquez will leave Honda

By Jonathan Hawkins, CNN

(CNN) — Six-time MotoGP champion Marc Márquez will end his 11-year association with Honda, the factory team announced Wednesday, finally ending weeks of speculation around the rider’s future.

“Honda Racing Corporation and Marc Márquez have mutually elected to terminate their four-year contract prematurely at the end of the 2023 MotoGP World Championship season,” HRC announced in a statement.

“Both parties agreed it was in their best interests to each pursue other avenues in the future to best achieve their respective goals and targets,” it continued.

There had been a year left on the contract tying the Spaniard to the Japanese team.

While his destination is yet to be confirmed, the 30-year-old is widely expected to join his brother, Álex, at the Gresini Ducati team – a satellite outfit, but one which offers one of the sport’s most successful riders in history a chance to compete once more at the front of the grid.

In an emotional social media post following Honda’s announcement, Márquez shared what he said was a message to one of his team.

“I don’t know where to begin. I don’t know if I’m doing right or wrong, I don’t know what will happen in the future, I don’t know if all this will turn out well, but what I do know is everything we have achieved together,” the post read.

“It has been the most difficult decision of my life, guided by my head and courage, not by my heart. My heart will always be you, always, that you have supported me and will support me. But I have one thing clear, I want to try to be the best rider in the world again and for that I need to enjoy it.”

Reports Wednesday suggested Márquez will not be able to take any of his team, including the highly respected crew chief, Santi Hernández, with him when he leaves.

With six premier class World Championships, five Triple Crowns, 59 wins, 101 podiums and 64 pole positions, the Márquez-Honda relationship has been one of the most successful in motorcycle racing history.

However, both manufacturer and rider have endured a nightmarish 2023 season, as the rider struggled to regain his form following four surgeries on his arm after a horror crash at the beginning of the 2020 campaign.

This year’s Repsol Honda machine has also proven difficult to master, with Márquez enduring 14 crashes before the MotoGP summer break alone, while Ducati has widened the gap at the front by delivering a bike on which multiple riders have been able to achieve convincing wins.

Álex Márquez posted a consoling message to his brother on Wednesday, writing on Instagram: “I know today has not been an easy day for you, but you are brave and life rewards those who value it. Few of us know what you’ve been through since 2020 and it’s time for you to enjoy 100% of what you love most again.”

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