Alex Marquez Confirmed Alongside Brother Marc In Repsol Honda Team For 2020

Repsol Honda have officially confirmed that Alex Marquez will partner his brother Marc at the Repsol Honda team for next year. It is the first time that a pair of brothers have raced in the same team in MotoGP. There have been other brothers riding in the same class at the same time - Aleix and Pol Espargaro the latest example of that, but never before have brothers raced in the same team in either 500cc or MotoGP. 

Marc Marquez has made no secret over the years of his desire to share a team with his brother Alex, Alex being given a test ride on the Repsol Honda as a reward for winning the Moto3 title in 2014. Alex also filled in for the injured Tom Luthi at the test in Jerez in November 2017. There was a belief that Marc would try to bring Alex into the team in 2021, once Jorge Lorenzo's contract ended. But when news of Jorge Lorenzo's retirement broke, an opportunity opened up earlier.

At first, the younger Marquez brother was just one of a handful of candidates, a list which included Johann Zarco, Cal Crutchlow, Takaaki Nakagami, and even Alvaro Bautista. But as the weekend went on, it became increasingly clear that Alex Marquez would get the call, specifically at the request of brother Marc.

It is a risky move by Repsol Honda. The justification for taking Alex Marquez straight into the factory team is that he is the reigning Moto2 champion, and as such, deserves a slot in MotoGP. Honda can also argue that Jorge Lorenzo's decision to retire so late in the season forced their hand, limiting their options to find a suitable replacement. And the benefit of having Alex in Repsol alongside Marc is that the two are much more likely to work together than create friction inside the team. 

But there are many dangers to having Alex Marquez alongside Marc. The first is that it obviously looks like the fact that Alex is Marc's brother played a major part in the decision. Whatever the merits of Alex Marquez having a seat in MotoGP - and as reigning Moto2 champion, he certainly deserves a chance in the premier class - it is unusual for rookies to go straight to factory teams outside of Suzuki, which has no satellite team. 

There is also a huge risk that Marc Marquez will be distracted. If Alex does not adapt quickly to the Honda, Marc will be inundated with questions about whether it was a mistake to put Alex into such a high-pressure situation. Marc is also likely to feel obliged to try to help Alex, further taking his focus away from the job of winning the championship again in 2020. And if Alex doesn't immediately adapt to the 2020 RC213V, Honda will face a barrage of criticism for giving the ride to the younger Marquez brother, and be seen as weak in not standing up to the six-time MotoGP champion.

There could be a benefit in the longer term, of course. At the moment, Marc Marquez has no interest in making the Honda RC213V easier to ride, as long as it can do the things he needs it to do. The problems of other riders are not his concern at the moment. 

But if Alex struggles, Marc may have an added motivation to try to improve the areas which would help all the Honda riders. It is in Marc Marquez' interest for his brother to be competitive, and if that means making the bike easier to ride, then he will surely be inclined to do that.

We will get to see how Alex Marquez gets on with the Honda from Tuesday. The reigning Moto2 champion will test at Valencia, though he will be testing the LCR Honda bike, the 2019-spec Honda RC213V which Takaaki Nakagami is due to get next year. What he tests at Jerez, and which garage he works out of, is as yet unanswered. Alex will get an extra three days of testing as well, alongside Brad Binder and Iker Lecuona, rookies being given permission to test during the MotoGP shakedown ahead of the Sepang test in February next year.

Alex Marquez leaves a vacant seat in Moto2 - most Moto2 contracts have a specific clause in them allowing the contract to be broken if the rider is offered a place in MotoGP - in the Marc VDS team. Johann Zarco is the most likely candidate to fill that seat, after the Frenchman turned down the chance to stay in MotoGP with Avintia Ducati.

The Repsol Honda press release appears below. 


HRC sign Alex Marquez

Honda Racing Corporation is pleased to announce the signing of double World Champion Alex Marquez. The young Spanish rider will join the Repsol Honda Team on a one-year contract.

He will move from the intermediate class to partner eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez in 2020 for his debut season in the premier class aboard the Honda RC213V.

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Comments

Why does Marc want his brother as a teammate? There is an old adage "don't mix family and business". Is Marc intent on thoroughly humiliating his brother? Everyone else's hope is that having Alex as a teammate will somehow distract Marc from keeping his eye on the cue ball. 

Dovi and Pretrux proved that being buddies and not creating friction in the box is not a plus. Dovi/Jorge was the "dream team". Those guys were rivals for the better part of 20 years. Having Jorge as a teammate coincided with Dovizioso's rise to the next level. Coincidence? What did all the friction create? Thirteen wins in two seasons.

This deal leaves a bad taste in the mouth like Honda's choice was not really much of a choice. It feels more like extortion. This combined with Marc hounding Fabio during quali resulting in a 60 mph faceplant makes Marquez look even more the neighborhood bully. And all one can do is take their hat off to him for his race craft, both on and off the track. He really doesn't ever let up.

Total votes: 52

What were they supposed to do? Try if Zarco can handle the wild Honda longer than that wild KTM? Fight with Cal who already has the same bike anyway, and has his team? Try Taka who has the same bike for 2020 anyway, and has his team too? Bring Bautista back? Try someone else than the last Moto2 world champion?

I would be happy to watch all the above mentioned in the Honda livery in 2020, don't take me wrong.

But yes I find all the "someone deserves it more than Alex" talk embarrassing. In motogp, no one ever got his place because he "deserves" it, let's not forget its just business. And this business looks pretty gainful. 

Total votes: 68

It is obvious that Alex is not the best rider for that seat, except insofar as it helps secure Marc in the seat beside him, therefore making him the best rider for that seat by far!

It has taken Alex five whole years to win a Moto2 championship by 3 points. Zarco is a superior rider in every objective measure. He has demonstrated rapid adaptability to the Honda, far more so than a 3-time MotoGP world champion as well as a veteran Honda rider with victories under his belt. Zarco has two Moto2 championships in five years, and has finished 6th in both of his MotoGP seasons on a satellite Yamaha, scoring multiple podiums along the way. This is why he was given a 1-year contract, and why Ducati is moving heaven and earth to capitalize on Honda's decision by signing Zarco. 

Now all of this being said, did Honda make the right choice? Of course, but for the obvious reason that it helped them keep Marc Marquez. In fact, the fact that it's a one year deal shows a remarkable amount of pushback by HRC, as they obviously see the same facts as everyone else does: Alex is unlikely to succeed on that bike. 

If Zarco gets a factory bike in Avintia with a solid crew, I believe this will be a win for all involved as it raises the marketability of the series tenfold by enhancing the dramatic aspects of this great sport. Marc may be happy with his brother being in his garage, but there's a reason why older and wiser heads have advised against it. A 1-year contract at Repsol exerts the most severe pressure possible on a rookie, and I'm genuniely concerned for Alex's health. No matter how much Marc coaches his brother, he can't turn him into himself and nor would he want to. I highly doubt Marc sees himself as anything other than greatest of all time, and he won't even let his love of family get in the way of that. Such is the way of a champion. 

Last night I watched the "Rookie 93" documentary. Amazing how young and naive Marc was back then. Professional sport at this level is no child's game however, and he quickly learned to become the apex predator among sharks. 

One thing's for sure...I'll be glued to my seat during from Tuesday's test onward. MotoGP has entered a new golden era.  

 

 

 

Total votes: 7

You say Alex is not the best choice, but who else?

Zarco?  He has proven to be unable to adapt if things aren't going his way.  He had a couple of mid-pack rides on the easier-to-ride 2018 Honda; at KTM he was a disaster.  And more to the point - he publicly blamed the bike and abandoned the team.  He's also coming up 30 years old.  Older than Marc.  

Cal already has conflicting sponsors, has a good team, and is on the same bike with different paint.

Nakagami already has a team - and why would be be superior to Marc?  He didn't get a Moto2 title, or any other title?

Zarco should consider himself lucky to have ANY options in MotoGP given his behaviour and public statements during his time at KTM.  As a factory rider, you are a sales rep for said factory.  Part of your job (a large part) is to sell motorcycles made by said manufacturer. 

He would do well to remember that.  This isn't Moto2.

Total votes: 3

I saw this coming--he's young, and they always want an up-and-comer (unless they just temporarily filled the spot I guess). Zarco and Crutchlow are definitely not young. Then there were all the complications, like Monster sponsors and contracts. Plus, if Zarco couldn't ride the KTM how would he manage the Honda?? Nope.

Good luck to Alex--could end up a family dynasty 

Total votes: 8

I wonder if... this is Marc's next challenge and frontier - coaching his brother into being competitive as a toe into the waters of post-racing (on a one-year deal). Understood, he's still at the top of the game and driven to win, but then again, he's laid to rest any question about who's the best, he's set records, threatened an undefeated season, and topped it all with a single-handed triple crown - for HRC. Meanwhile, Vale is 40, still making podiums, and establishing a young Italian riders academy and a Moto3/Moto2 team. The unsightly aspects are easily swept under the rug that the Triple Crown and all the other Hardware Marc's brought in. I think Marc is pretty calculating and shrewd, and wouldn't put this past him. 

Total votes: 23

Marc says, who me? If Honda does a gesture to make me happy, am I supposed to complain?

Honda bosses say, just keep the kid happy.We're just glad he didn't want a pony.

Alex doesn't want to be Marc Jr it's up to him to step up to the hardest team. Most riders can't. Exceptional rookies are rare.

Total votes: 8

Well, if Alex Marquez were John Doe, it would make perfect sense to choose him in behalf of his Moto2 title.
Nonetheless, the family business will be interesting to watch.

Right now, I'm especially exited to witness Brad and Alex debuting next year.

Total votes: 24

Nothing pithy to say... Except, 1) I wont be watching, I'm not re-upping my videopass subscription, and 2) this could be the only thing that could knock Marc off his game while at his peak. His competitors should be ecstatic.

 

Total votes: 54

Fraught with perils. What happens if junior beats senior... not once, when it'll be all smiles, but twice or thrice. Enough to damage his title chances? What if he takes him out on the first corner? And what if junior has the most torrid time to the point that he starts thinking big brother is getting the best of everything. Lots of "what if's". Personally I wouldn't ever have competed against my brother (who I'd have beaten every time of course) because of the potential fallout.

I can only surmise that they have a deal. You be my wingman while I knock off the remaining records and then you can be champion when I move on, being a protected species all the while. Which he might need, because senior he ain't.

 

Total votes: 33

I can't help but feel this is going to be a bruising experience for both Alex and Marc. Unless Alex has been sandbagging something rotten he's about to get blasted into the weeds. Marc is going to have the uncomfortable experience of seeing his little brother soundly beaten then probably replaced.

Alex couldn't beat Zarco, or Folger, Mir, Nakagami, Bagnaia, Rins, Morbidelli and 5 out of 7 are waiting for him in the senior league. If nothing else it's going to be interesting.

Total votes: 10

Favoritism not being a part of it when Marc has expressed just this thing years ago, is foolish.  I bet Cal isn't happy at all.   

Total votes: 15

That will make a change. ;-)

He'll love it: if he beats AM73, it shows how good he is, and how unfair it all is, and if he doesn't it's because AM73 has a better bike, team, parts, electronics, hand-sanitiser, and how unfair that all is.

Perfect outcome for Cal. No pressure whatsoever.

Total votes: 31

I read an article recently where it did sound like Cal was a bit put off at the possibility of someone other than him being considered for the Repsol seat, which doesn't make sense to me since Cal's bike is always referred to as being the same spec as the Repsol bikes. If that's true, then what difference would it make if he raced for the factory team or not? What am I missing? 

Total votes: 8

There was a rule in place that a rookie needed to go to a sattelite team first. An Marquez broke it, and the other one follows.

Interesting pick from Honda, but to be honest a logical one. It wouldnt make sense to pick one of the other options since they almost guarentee midpack results. This is the only one with the element of surprise

Everybody seems to see it as a favoured postion for Alex, but actually it is the one with the most pressure and chance of failure. But other options were only Suzuki, since Yamaha seems of limit

Total votes: 9

as MM93 appears to be the only to win on the Honda nearly every week,it is in both Honda and AM73 for them to develope a bike

that can be raced and won by more than one racer.MM93 will certainly help his brother,and Honda ,

the combined efforts of the brothers could do it,for their success and Hondas as well.

 

Total votes: 13

Certainly the dynamics of having the Honda factory effort turned into a family business suggests some potential for distraction, and potentiallly some confusion if not conflict, as some other contributors have outlined. 

However, at this stage of his career, how does one say No to MM? After this season he doesn't have so much a strong negotiating position as a stranglehold. The one thing more complicated than having brothers in the box would be having to do a deal with an unhappy MM, and potentially having to replace him. Good luck with that!

And for all of the scepticism about this decision Repsol Honda looks like the most unified and enthusiastic team in the paddock, and MM's interaction with them seems to be full of respect and positivity. If any team can handle this complication - it's them.

Total votes: 21

that's why we race, you never know what's going to happen.

alex may take to the honda better than all seem to expect.

personally i hope he does.

fast riders... more's better, right?

Total votes: 19

Marc gets Alex established in HRC during 20 thru 22.  Meanwhile he plans to surpass Rossi's total wins and championships (that matters to him) while still in his 'known' place.  With Alex cemented in HRC and with the all time records secured, he is free to take a risk and go to KTM/Duc/etc in 2023.

Maybe reading too much into it, but I don't dismiss this level of clinical planning from MM.  He has seen how badly affected Rossi's and Lorenzo's careers have been by jumping ship and he doesn't want to do it till he owns all the big numbers.  But he's also looking out for little brother and trying to help his career.

I'll get my (tinfoil) hat...

Total votes: 35

I'd prefer to see teams bring in newer riders over older ones. I think Alex is a solid rider. Not a magic rider, but this year, he's been consistent and done an exceptional job. But as far as him moving up to the factory Honda team, I'm not so certain about it. As someone mentioned, if his name was John Doe, this wouldn't be such a big question, but his name is Alex Marquez. I'm excited to see what Alex can do on the bike, but the optics of this situation aren't exactly the best given Marc's leverage on Honda. 

I feel like every time I speak about Marc; I have to say that I honestly think that he is unquestionably the greatest rider ever to throw a leg over the bike. I think this year made that quite clear with his utter domination of the field. It's been difficult to watch if I'm honest. Marc plays with his food as an orca plays with seals.  All I want in the world is to see someone bring the fight to Marc. I don't care who it is. Fabio is looking dangerous, but against the seemingly unlimited talent of Marc, it's still only a hope. That said, it would be beyond my wildest dreams to see Alex step up to the plate. It was Marc himself that said Alex was faster than him. I don't really believe him but who really knows. If Marc were to see his invincibility penetrated by his own brother, that would make for a show greater then any we could possibly imagine. Hey, a man can dream :-) 

Total votes: 10

I'd prefer to see teams bring in newer riders over older ones. I think Alex is a solid rider. Not a magic rider, but this year, he's been consistent and done an exceptional job. But as far as him moving up to the factory Honda team, I'm not so certain about it. As someone mentioned, if his name was John Doe, this wouldn't be such a big question, but his name is Alex Marquez. I'm excited to see what Alex can do on the bike, but the optics of this situation aren't exactly the best given Marc's leverage on Honda. 

I feel like every time I speak about Marc; I have to say that I honestly think that he is unquestionably the greatest rider ever to throw a leg over the bike. I think this year made that quite clear with his utter domination of the field. It's been difficult to watch if I'm honest. Marc plays with his food as an orca plays with seals.  All I want in the world is to see someone bring the fight to Marc. I don't care who it is. Fabio is looking dangerous, but against the seemingly unlimited talent of Marc, it's still only a hope. That said, it would be beyond my wildest dreams to see Alex step up to the plate. It was Marc himself that said Alex was faster than him. I don't really believe him but who really knows. If Marc were to see his invincibility penetrated by his own brother, that would make for a show greater then any we could possibly imagine. Hey, a man can dream :-) 

Total votes: 8

next to replace Alberto Puig by Marquez father would be the goal, life will be complete. "roll eyes" 

Total votes: 8

I gotta say this is a little weird. But…who would you put in that seat? Honestly, every available rider has an issue or another, and for this reason or that is only a Possible on winning on the Honda. Might HRC finally be admitting that it really is the rider, and you build the bike to them rather than one everyone can win on? And who better to groom for the next slot than Little Brother, with Big Bro to learn him the ropes, while ensuring that while he still cares the bike is more for him?

Of course I’m also reminded of the Rodriguez brothers. While the ages are reversed here, I am sure Biz Markie Mark wouldn’t at all want this move, if he didn’t know in his heart of hearts he is faster.

Total votes: 7

Is after we have seen the Marquez demolition exercise that was 2019, that Marquez sees an opportunity to create a Marquez family dynasty, not just his own personal glory.

Sure, I have some pessimistic thoughts, but after seeing the absolute throw down of authority of this season, I wouldn't be surprised at hardly anything Marc does in the sport of motorcycle racing. 

Total votes: 16

I feel like he's been railroaded into the toughest job in MOTOGP - riding an RCV Honda with Marc Marquez as your teammate. I just can't see this ending well for Alex. Marc is perhaps the GOAT, at the peak of his powers, riding a machine 100% suited to his particular riding style. Alex hasn't really ever shown that kind of talent. He's going to be utterly, devastatingly smoked by Marc every race.  I can see this leaving Alex a broken man, perhaps literally. 

Total votes: 8

There sure is a lot of hate for this move from the general fan population.  

Alex may not be the most deserving rider out there to get a factory ride, but Mir has one and he doesn’t have two championships. Vinales has one and doesn’t have two championships. Fabio... barely any Moto3 and Moto2 wins.... Aleix... sweet F all... 

Honda were in a tough spot and this move has at least some potential  Alex M has improved a lot this year.... it could work out. 

Don’t know why so many people are bent out of shape over it.   

 

Total votes: 23

What happens in a year (two?) when AM cannot meet Honda's expectations and Honda is considering whether to renew his contract?  Cutting AM will almost certainly annoy MM and cause him to consider his options at other teams.  While nobody can predict what will be the outcome of the decision to hire AM, Honda may be forced to consider keeping him on the team just to keep MM onside.  I see the potential for divergent interests in the future and a lot of distraction in the meantime.

Mind you, the Valentino Rossi / Luca Marini 2020 Yamaha MotoGP team should work well.  

   

Total votes: 9

I never normally comment but I am motivated to do so on a couple of aspects:

  1. As covered by David, being promoted from Moto2 straight into a Repsol Honda HRC seat is highly unusual - especially when we consider that the candidate involved took 5 years to become Moto2 World Champion!  I think it looks really bad for the championship and has left a very sour taste in the mouth.
  2. I think it makes Marc look pretty bad too.  He clearly has a very close relationship with his brother, and wants him to succeed in his career.  His celebrations of Alex's successes are this year almost seem at a higher level than those for his own!!  The issue I have is his vehement denial of having any influence on the decision made by HRC to hire Alex.  I am not Marc's biggest fan but he makes it difficult to like him when does not manage topics he want to avoid.  I am thinking about his denial of following Fabio in qualifying in Malaysia this year as another example.  I am not naive, and do not expect him to tell the total truth all the time, but bare faced lies are never going to be received well.

I think it is going to be amazing to see how this plays out - I don't see Alex doing well enough to satisfy most of us regarding his hire - which will only ratchet up the pressure on relationships between Alex, Marc, HRC and the rest of the MotoGP community!       

On a more positive note, I would like to congratulate the motomatters.com team for such an amazing product.  It is the only subscription I have regarding MotoGP, and I think it is exceptional value. Thanks David!

 

Total votes: 20

MM may have influenced the decision, but he shouldn't have made it. If he did, Puig and HRC are dead, or soft, from the neck up (very unlikely). 

He has a racing year to prove himself and I am not expecting fireworks. But plenty of people didn't think FQ could cut it either......

Total votes: 1