Marquez has left the Honda team with which he spent his entire MotoGP career to ride a Ducati for the Gresini squad this season.

The eight-time world champion moved to the Italian team without his crew chief Santi Hernandez, who moved up to MotoGP with Marquez when the Spaniard jumped up from Moto2.

Despite the tremendous bond between Marquez and Hernandez, and the success they enjoyed – six MotoGP titles and one in Moto2 – the rider was unable to take the engineer with him to Gresini, as Ducati asked Marquez to commit for two years when he only wanted to do so for one (2024).

With Marquez’s exit, everything looked set for Hernandez and his crew to oversee the arrival of Luca MariniMarquez’s replacement at Honda.

The Italian explicitly asked to work on Hernandez’s side of the garage, a circumstance which would have meant that Mir would have remained with his previous crew chief Giacomo Guidotti and his team.

However, Mir requested on the weekend of the final race of last season in Valencia that Honda should give him the team that had always been linked to Marquez.

The fact that his contract expires at the end of 2024 prompted his decision to push for the crew change.

Joan Mir, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“This is something that Joan asked for, and that was done,” said Honda team manager Alberto Puig in a conversation with Motorsport.com during last week’s Sepang test.

“We thought it made sense because Santi is Spanish and Giacomo is Italian. We think that riders can always get closer to a chief mechanic who speaks the same language as them.

“Either side is made up of professional people who know the bike. It’s more a question of personal affinity.”

Mir’s answer about his first experiences following the staff swap was unequivocal.

“The situation has changed a lot,” Mir said. “Santi has a way of working that fits very well with me. He is very well supported by the titles he has won, and he doesn’t only help me technically.

“The fact that he has won so many world championships is not by chance. I like his method a lot.”

Last year, in his first season with Honda, the 2020 world champion failed to perform to the expected level of him – he finished 22nd in the standings, with his best result being fifth in India.

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