Sibling rivalry just took a high-speed, two-wheel twist as Moto2 champion Alex Marquez was announced as Repsol Honda’s new MotoGP rider alongside his older brother and six-time world champion Marc.
The Spanish brothers will ride for the team in next year’s premier MotoGP championship following the retirement of Jorge Lorenzo.
Marquez senior was adamant in press conferences in Valencia last weekend that while he would welcome the chance to race with his brother, the decision had not been made, and he had no part in it.
Alberto Puig, the Repsol Honda team principal, insists the new signing’s surname has nothing to do with his appointment.
“The conversation was not with Marc – the conversation was with Alex and his manager,” he told reporters.
“If Alex had not achieved the Moto2 world title we would never have offered him this opportunity. But he did, and they are brothers. So, next year they will be brothers and rivals.”
In spite of Marc Marquez’s extraordinary record in the sport – at just 26 he has won eight world titles, including six premier class wins – his younger sibling has achieved two things he did not.
Alex has not only won the Moto3 and Moto2 titles, he has also won the Spanish championship, which the 23-year-old smilingly reminded the audience at MotoGP’s end of season gala in Valencia Sunday.
Nevertheless, the Repsol Honda has proven too hot to handle for many riders, with none coming close to Marquez’s phenomenal and sustained success.
“[Marc Marquez] has managed to get this Honda matching to his particular style, but it seems to be very difficult for other Honda riders to tame the beast,” Lin Jarvis, Yamaha Racing’s managing director, told CNN in Valencia Monday.
However, some observers have reservations about the signing.
“This is a high-risk move for both Honda and Marc Marquez,” said David Emmett, editor of motomatters.com.
“The Repsol Honda team is the most prestigious in the paddock, and as Marc said at the beginning of the season with Lorenzo, being in this team means fighting for victories and podiums. If Alex Marquez fails, the finger of blame will be pointed at Marc.”
“But Alex comes to Repsol Honda as reigning Moto2 champion..
“He has some time on the bike already and will have a lot of support. The biggest risk is that if Alex struggles, it becomes a distraction for Marc, and he will need all his focus to try to defend his title.”