One of the biggest moves to unfold at the 2019 season finale in Valencia, was the news that Moto2 World Champion Alex Marquez would replace Jorge Lorenzo at Honda and join his older brother Marc Marquez for 2020.
As expected, the news was met with split opinion among many racing fans. Is a move to arguably the most prestigious team in MotoGP too soon? Was it a tactical ploy to help keep the eight-time world champion content and secure him with the team beyond 2020? Or could it simply be that Honda believe he’s the best fit moving forward?
Any of these factors could conceivably be true, however it goes without saying that options were limited for HRC and regardless of team and situation, Alex is a top talent ready for MotoGP.
Joan Mir and especially Fabio Quatararo showed that rookies who were perceived to be promoted too early were in fact more than ready, and in Quatararo’s case produced the best rookie season since Marc in 2013.
Sure Alex comes with more scrutiny due to the team and circumstances of which he has joined the MotoGP paddock, but it’s a low risk move that could certainly produce the desired results.
Speaking for the first time as a member of the HRC team Alex said: “It’s a dream come true. It’s an incredible honour to have these colours on and to have this shirt on. I’m really happy with this opportunity to go to MotoGP with the Repsol Honda Team. I’m really proud. It’s a new situation for me. I’m used to seeing Marc in these colours, but not me! It’s special.”
Honda have struggled over the last few seasons with both Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo to get consistent results due to injuries, the bike being notoriously tough to ride and of course retirement.
Alex will have struggles as would any rookie, but with Marc going for his ninth championship and seventh in the top class, the 24 year-old won’t necessarily be expected to challenge his older brother, but instead help in the constructors championship along with Britain’s Cal Crutchlow and Takaaki Nakagami.
2020 will also mark the first time in history that brothers will share the same garage: “It’s a special moment, a special year but we need to be natural and approach it like a normal situation. We know we are brothers but inside the team we need to be professional as we are different riders.
We each have our own teams, so we need to work in our own way. For sure, it’s an advantage to have a six-time MotoGP world champion in my garage because I can see a lot of data from him and see how I need to ride this Honda machine to help find the secrets.
I will try to take all the information from him and all the Honda riders to try and learn as much as possible.”
Given the impressive showing from rookies last season, the two-time champion will be expected to challenge for rookie of the year honors, which Alex describes as the ‘main goal’ this season.
“I can say that I want to be the Rookie of the Year – that’s the first goal. Right now, I am focused on understanding the bike and aiming to have more feeling to build my confidence.
Before the Qatar race, I will be able to see a little better what our real position is and what we can do from the first race.”