The six-time premier class champion has claimed he cannot even challenge for the podium at the 2023 season-opening Portuguese MotoGP next weekend, such is the ferocity and number of the Ducatis.
But his brother Alex Marquez, who will debut for Gresini Ducati after leaving Marc at Honda, has explained a private chat they had.
“I told him that in the sprint race I was doing top five and he told me: ‘Well, you’ll be sixth because I’ll be fifth’. That was his answer,” Alex told Marca.
Repsol Honda rider Marc has previously claimed he could be as low as 10th in next Sunday’s grand prix.
Is he demoralised by his Honda’s lack of competitiveness?
“No,” teased Alex. “It’s preseason and that’s why they don’t give points.”
Alex is arriving into the 2023 season in better shape than his brother, but believes the preseason Portimao test holds some secrets.
“On paper, yes, but it’s Marc,” he said. “He will go further.
“In preseason there are those who keep all their cards, those who teach a little and those who teach a lot.”
Were Honda saving themselves? “No, but they controlled the risks,” Alex said.
“For example, the 37.9 that Francesco Bagnaia did at the last minute, with the temperature it was, is a high risk 10 days before the start of a championship. It wasn’t necessary, anyway.”
Marc is chasing a seventh MotoGP title to equal Valentino Rossi’s total but knows there have been four different champions on four different bikes in the past four seasons.
Ducati, clearly, begin the year with the best machinery.
Yet Alex admits that Marc is still among the favourites to become 2023 champion: “After 21 races, yes, because he is the most complete in all conditions and on all circuits. He is still the most complete as a rider.
“You have to have the weapons to fight.”
Alex picked his top four for the Portuguese MotoGP: “Pecco, Quartararo, although it will depend a lot on their classification, Jorge Martín and Marc. Those four.”
And his favourites to win the championship: “Three: Pecco, Fabio and Marc.”