Marc And Álex Márquez Are Brothers And Now MotoGP Teammates

Eight-time world champion Marc Márquez: “Álex is ready to race in MotoGP.”


One day after the MotoGP season finale in Valencia, Spain, and less than 24 hours before the first official test for 2020, Repsol Honda announced Marc (93) and Álex Márquez (73) would team together on factory machinery. The brothers tested together on Tuesday and Wednesday.
One day after the MotoGP season finale in Valencia, Spain, and less than 24 hours before the first official test for 2020, Repsol Honda announced Marc (93) and Álex Márquez (73) would team together on factory machinery. The brothers tested together on Tuesday and Wednesday.Honda

The 2020 MotoGP season kicked off on Tuesday with two full days of testing at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain. With the world title awarded to a dominant Marc Márquez several weeks earlier in Thailand, attention during the final race weekend of the year was laser-focused on one subject: Who would replace retiring five-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo in the factory Repsol Honda team?

Asked at the pre-event press conference about potential teammates, Márquez said Honda had the opportunity to decide between a more experienced or a younger rider. With many riders already contracted through 2020, the most likely candidates were Johann Zarco and Márquez’s brother Álex, the 2019 Moto2 and ’14 Moto3 world champion, who was expected to defend his Moto2 crown with the Marc VDS squad before potentially making the leap to MotoGP in 2021.

Some interpreted Márquez’s statement as an ultimatum to Honda, particularly in light of ongoing contract negotiations for the 2021–’22 seasons; the 26-year-old Spaniard has won six premier-class world titles, all on Honda machinery. Lorenzo’s announcement boosted interest around the second factory RC213V, leading to wild rumors and forcing other teams to answer questions about long-term plans sooner than might be anticipated.

Back of motorcycle racer Alex Marquez helmet
Honda’s official take on the hiring of Álex Márquez? “Any rider who wins the world title deserves a chance to have this type of opportunity,” Repsol Honda team manager Alberto Puig said. “The only factor here is the surname.”Honda

After splitting with KTM months into a two-year contract with the Austrian factory, Zarco replaced the injured Takaaki Nakagami at LCR Honda for the final three races—Australia, Malaysia, and Spain. Riding a 2018 RC213V, the 29-year-old Frenchman qualified 14th, ninth, and 13th, finishing 13th at Phillip Island and crashing at Sepang and Valencia while running within or near the top 10. Zarco has also been linked to a Yamaha test-rider role.

Claude Michy, the promoter of the French Grand Prix at Le Mans, pushed for Zarco, and I believe Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, in his own way, may have provided the two-time Moto2 world champion with some level of reassurance. Hounded by the media during the race weekend, Repsol Honda team manager Alberto Puig left the door open for Zarco, but privately, he surely couldn’t ignore the interests of the most successful rider in Honda’s history.

The relationship between the Márquez brothers, who now share 10 world titles, is special.

Others in the Grand Prix paddock argued that a Márquez family team didn’t make sense—Aleix and Pol Espargaró race in the same class, but brothers have never been MotoGP teammates—particularly given the availability of an experienced rider like Zarco, who earned five MotoGP pole positions and six podiums in two seasons with the Yamaha Tech3 team. Logically, Álex would remain in Moto2 one more season before making the jump to MotoGP.

After switching from a Moto2-spec 765cc three-cylinder Triumph to a 1,000cc V-4 Honda, Álex Márquez (73) said, “Lap by lap, we are understanding the bike more and more. We did a lot on used tires to improve our pace and learn the behavior.” Next stop, Jerez.
After switching from a Moto2-spec 765cc three-cylinder Triumph to a 1,000cc V-4 Honda, Álex Márquez said, “Lap by lap, we are understanding the bike more and more. We did a lot on used tires to improve our pace and learn the behavior.” Next stop, Jerez.Honda

Pramac Ducati has reportedly shown interest in Álex for 2021, which I believe could be part of a bigger project. Marc has not denied that Ducati also approached him. At the end of the 2020 season, he could have nine titles and perhaps would accept the challenge to chase a 10th on the Italian bike. Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo left Yamaha for Ducati and fell short. Factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso has finished second to Márquez three successive seasons.

The relationship between the Márquez brothers, who now share 10 world titles, is special. “It has always been,” father Julià told me. “They do everything together. They train together, they have shared for ages the same room, they support and push each other.” Marc confessed at Sepang that, “Seeing Álex clinching the Moto2 world title was a greater satisfaction than winning my sixth MotoGP title.” He also added, perhaps strategically, “Álex is ready to join MotoGP.”

I believe, in Marc’s eyes, the ultimate dream team is one with his arguably proven brother. But I also understand concerns Honda might have for the astronomical pressure this situation will put on 23-year-old Álex. So not only can Marc be seen as arm wrestling with Honda, he is likely going against Ezpeleta, something riders are careful not to do; even Valentino Rossi respects this unwritten rule. Puig called Honda’s choice, “a good opportunity for [Álex].”

The pairing of the Márquez brothers, Marc and Álex (shown), with 10 world titles across four classes, was not unexpected, given the former’s dominance in MotoGP with the Repsol Honda squad. He is the only rider consistently able to win on the latest version of the RC213V.
The pairing of the Márquez brothers, Marc and Álex, with 10 world titles across four classes, was not unexpected, given the former’s dominance in MotoGP with the Repsol Honda squad. Marc is the only rider consistently able to win on the latest version of the RC213V.Honda

The Márquez family is arguably the winner of this political game. Marc and Álex are the new Repsol Honda dream team. Time will tell all if Honda made the correct decision and if it will be a positive experience for Álex, who has suddenly been catapulted into what many consider to be the most desirable seat in Grand Prix roadracing. But like others who also got their shot, he doesn’t have the luxury of a parachute.

The greatest loser for the moment is Johann Zarco, whose name was absent from the provisional 2020 Grand Prix entry lists—MotoGP, Moto2, and Moto3—published earlier this week by the FIM in conjunction with the two-day test at Valencia. For Zarco, two full-time racing options appear plausible: replacing Álex Márquez in Moto2 at Marc VDS or a possible seat with Reale Avintia Racing on a Ducati GP19.

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