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By Sky Sports Italia

"I thought he would've changed bikes" - Dovizioso on Marquez

Ducati Team's Andrea Dovizioso admits he was taken by surprise at Marc Marquez' unprecedented four-year deal with HRC

Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso has admitted he was surprised by Marc Marquez signing an unprecedented four-year deal with the Repsol Honda Team and HRC. The eight-time World Champion signed the longest contract extension in MotoGP™ history in February, meaning he will be onboard a Honda until at least the end of 2024.

It was an announcement that surprised many in the paddock, including Championship rival Dovizioso, and during a Q&A with Italian MotoGP™ broadcaster Sky Sports Italia, the Italian said he “thought he would have changed bikes” instead of sticking with HRC for the foreseeable future. Dovizioso has experience with Honda, Yamaha and now Ducati throughout his MotoGP™ career, whilst Marquez will have been with Honda's MotoGP™ squad for a remarkable twelve seasons by the time his new deal comes to an end. It'll be a feat only beaten by former teammate and MotoGP™ Legend Dani Pedrosa, amassing 13 seasons with Repsol Honda from 2006 to 2018.

Marquez explains the 4-year Repsol Honda deal

"I am very surprised by Marquez's four-year [contract] with Honda,” said the Italian. “I thought the opposite would happen. But behind these important decisions, there are some background stories that we don't know. I thought he would have changed bikes, but he will have had his motivations and many thoughts on what he has managed to do so far."

Meanwhile, the three-time premier class runner-up also touched on the Grand Prix that never was – the 2020 Qatar Grand Prix: "In Qatar, in my opinion, we would have been able to fight for the victory. But if we listen to the interviews of the other riders, we could have had six or seven winners. Many felt right, but in the end - as we all know - the race counts and how you work for the race. We would have been competitive. I don't know how much though. It's the small details that make the difference.

"We had worked well, but with only two pre-season tests, you don't do a lot of work. You arrive after two months off and the first test arrives in Malaysia in tough conditions. It's very hot, it can rain, you do not have the energy to take full advantage of the three days. There are many things to try at the right time, to understand which direction to go. Qatar is also not an excellent track on which to make decisions about new material."

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