JD Beach inherited Marc Marquez’s throne this past Saturday at the Palau Sant Jordi arena in Barcelona, Spain. The 26-year-old American used dirt-track skills developed over a lifetime of racing against an entry list that included eight world champions to dominate all three Open-class finals and the winner-take-all SuperFinal.
With his victory, Beach joins countryman and friend Brad Baker, who has won two of these unique competitions. With the second and fourth editions won by six-time world champ Marc Marquez, America now leads Europe, three victories to two. The hard battles fought on the racetrack this year made many forget the absence of Marquez.
Now, organizers are looking toward next year’s race. I spoke with RPM Racing President Jaime Alguersuari to better understand the future of this important event. A rider, journalist, and visionary—or as he has defined himself, a dream maker—Alguersuari is the leading light behind the Superprestigio and its success.
Does a crowd of 4,500 spectators, despite the absence of Marc Marquez, confirm the interest is this discipline?
The challenge was to do the fifth edition without Marc. Once again, the Palau Sant Jordi offered a superb show and there were eight world champions. The paradox is that without Marc we lost around 2,000 people, but it is thanks to him that 4,500 fans came to watch the show. When we started with Marc five years ago, the idea was to promote this sport and the result is that the Superprestigio has become an unmissable appointment that closes the racing season in Europe.
What happened this year with Marquez?
Marc has been very honest. He confirmed that the level of the event is really high and that he finished the 2017 MotoGP season really tired. The championship has been demanding with a lot of pressure, and competing in the Superprestigio would have meant extra pressure. He needed some rest. I can understand his position, and our relationship remains very good.
Is there any truth behind the rumor the Superprestigio will move to France next year?
The Sant Jordi is reserved but there is interest from Claude Michy, the promoter of the French Grand Prix, to organize the sixth edition in Paris at the U Arena La Défense, a new facility. At the moment, there is the intention but everything has to be decided. We will study this possibility together. From a technical point of view, it is very complicated to set up this track. It’s a combination of several elements, and it has to be done right.
Will Marquez’s decision to compete in the Superprestigio next year change this decision?
No, it won’t. We did this fifth edition without of him to defend the discipline, and the people who came were the confirmation that the passion for dirt track and the show are facts. The presence of Johann Zarco also confirms this. He is improving a lot, and I’m sure that he will be a top rider to beat next year.
How do you see Johann Zarco?
I think that at the moment he is the most interesting person on the MotoGP grid. He is very determined, and he is growing. He doesn’t want to be Valentino Rossi or to emulate him; he aims to beat Marc Marquez. I’m sure he will do that and, in addition to MotoGP, he will grow a lot in dirt track.
Zarco confessed that it is a challenge for MotoGP riders to race the Superprestigio because they may lose against the Americans.
Jorge Lorenzo is the king of smooth riding. He told me once that he would like to come to the Superprestigio but this is not his sport. Other MotoGP riders came, but they saw that Marquez was really good so they had to train if they wanted to compete and beat him. I think some riders don’t like this kind of challenge. Zarco, on the contrary, is different.
What about the American riders?
Superprestigio is America versus Europe—the dirt-track specialists and the riders who come from roadracing. The Americans love to come here and race. It’s a great event for the sport, for the friendship among the riders. The Americans are a crucial part of our event, and Superprestigio has become very popular in the US. The ideal is to have the best MotoGP riders and the best dirt-trackers.