Tuesday, 07 January 2020 20:20

Álex Márquez: "I want to be Rookie of the Year"

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Spaniard joins six-time MotoGP champion brother Marc at Repsol Honda.

Spaniard Álex Márquez was due to defend his maiden Moto2 World Championship crown this year, however compatriot Jorge Lorenzo's retirement provided him with the perfect opportunity to join six-time MotoGP world champion brother Marc in the Repsol Honda garage.

The 23-year-old finally added a Moto2 title to his 2014 Moto3 title to give him an impressive foundation for his rookie year in motorbike racing's premier class.

Here is what the Cervera native had to say ahead of wearing the iconic orange, navy and white colours at the 2020 season opener in Qatar on March 8:

What does it mean to you to wear these colours?

"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."

What does it mean to you to be a rookie in an historic team like the Repsol Honda Team?

"I think for every rookie it's a dream to be in a factory team. After winning the Moto2 World Championship your wish is to be a factory rider, so this has come true for me. To be in the Repsol Honda Team, a team with the most history in the MotoGP paddock is an honour. I know it's a challenge, but it's a nice challenge."

What is your main goal for the 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."

What was it like being in the Repsol Honda garage for the first time, knowing you're a factory rider?

"It's really special. In the stomach you have butterflies when you put on your leathers, you walk in and you see your team and you know it's your team. Both bikes sitting there, it's like continuous special feelings during the first test. Now in Malaysia I think everything will be more under control, less nerves and more relaxed but the team already helped me to relax a lot in Jerez."

You will be one of the tallest riders in MotoGP, so do you think it can help you?

"Being tall can have some advantages such as moving the body and how you can use your weight. Maybe in the wet, it's a bit easier however there are disadvantages and some things can be a little bit worse. You need to live with this and be strong where you can and lose as little time as possible where you are weaker."

Did you ever imagine returning to Repsol and HRC?

"When you start, you imagine things like this can happen in your best dreams but it's difficult. There are many hours of training, many races, many things that can happen in a rider's career. I started already in the Spanish Championship with Repsol where we won in 2012 and it was really special. Then in 2014 we started a new project with the Honda Moto3 and HRC. The factory was behind me and it was incredible that year to win in the first year of the project. After all these years to come back to Honda is a dream. I'm looking forward to working with these amazing people, this factory and, of course, Repsol."

It's the first time in history that brothers will share a garage in MotoGP, how does that make you feel?

"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."

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