Naturally, that caused an almighty stir in itself, but then Marquez went and finished fourth-fastest in his first ride on a Desmosedici, at the Valencia post-season test.
However, despite declaring he was adapting faster than expected to the Ducati, the bike which dominated the 2023 championship, the man himself is not making any bold predictions about the season ahead.
“One thing is expectation, the other thing is approach,” said Marquez at the Gresini season launch.
“I mean, of course my approach is to try to be fast on the race track, and if I can be faster in the first test, I will try to do it.
“But the other thing is expectation versus reality. Of course, expectations are super high from the people.
“But as I said in this scenario, my work is to try to forget about all these expectations, trying to work in my garage because I need to be calm, especially in the beginning.
“Calm doesn't mean not being fast. Of course, I would like to be fast, but I cannot pretend to [think I can] fight for the victory from the beginning because the last four years were a nightmare for me.
“The last two years I was not able to win a race and especially because I arrive to a bike that, especially with two riders – who are [Francesco] Bagnaia and [Jorge] Martin – [who] spent many years with this bike and won many races and championships.
“So, they are super-fast and they will have the 2024 bike… the same bike. We can say the same bike, but you arrive there and you cannot pretend to be on the same level – or, it will not be the normal thing to be on the same level with them.”
Honda's fall from grace coincided with a long injury-affected period for Marquez after his shocking Spanish GP crash in 2020, his second season in a row off the back of winter shoulder surgery.
Despite a surprise arm pump operation in the current off-season, #93 is upbeat about his fitness now.
“Of course, finally I did a normal winter,” he remarked.
“This was another thing that was very important because since 2018 I have had all of the winters with rehabilitation of the shoulders, of the arm.
“Now I had a normal winter and I will try to escape from the injuries, which was the nightmare of the last years – even in 2023 I got injured.
“So, the reason for my results was also not just the Honda, but I also got injured many, many times.
“So, with all those aspects I will try to work in a better way, try to feel better on the race track and try to create my future again.”