On the racetrack, he is simply unbeatable. Outside of it, he’s a model boy who lives with his parents and cares only about motorsports. Meet Marc Marquez – the current MotoGP world champion – the rookie who defeated Lorenzo, Pedrosa & Co. He talks about his dreams and about challenging Stoner. He also makes a few declarations about Rossi…
"This year I want to win even more.” This was the statement made by the man who conquered the MotoGP championship on his debut year in 2013. Marc Marquez has taken control of this season by dominating the first nine races, and has left his competitors scraping the bottom of the barrel. He may always look cheerful, and may be the darling of the shutterbugs, but in reality he is quite a shy person. He cherishes his privacy and celebrates his victories with his near and dear ones. But this doesn’t mean the 21 year old doesn’t have a sense of humour, as you will always find the champ cracking jokes and putting everyone at ease. We got a chance to catch up with Marquez at the pits of Circuit d’Alcarras, a Spanish racetrack two hours away from Barcelona, in an event organised by one of his sponsors, Nilox. The champion had just returned from the Austin race in America and was completely exhausted because of jetlag. To make matters worse, his car at the airport had a dead battery, but Marc gave it a jump-start and things were under control. Facing car trouble and battling jetlag, anyone would be in a foul mood, but this is where Marc showed why he truly was a world champion as he didn’t whine or make any excuses. He met us cheerfully and was in a chatty mood. He is currently the toast of MotoGP, but when you talk to him about Valentino Rossi, he gets very excited – just by the thought of being on the grid with him. When we asked him if he feels sorry for his hero after defeating him? He starts laughing and then says, “I don’t feel sorry, but I do think of Rossi as my idol and it feels amazing that now I can race with him. And whenever I defeat him, it’s a special feeling. The competitors will always be competitors, but taking the chequered flag before number 46 is a different feeling, since Valentino is unique. When I was a kid, I wouldn’t ever dream to achieve such a thing, and, at the beginning of the last season, I almost couldn’t believe it.”
Have you ever taken any advice from Rossi, or is it him who now needs to ask you for tips?
When I made my debut in MotoGP, he gave me one piece of advice that I’ll always remember. ‘Proceed slowly, don’t be in a hurry, work with your team, and you’ll make it.’ I followed this advice. Nowadays, I meet Valentino only at press conferences. We hardly have time to chat, but we do exchange a few jokes. As for him asking me for advice… what can he ask me? He knows everything about MotoGP, he has so much experience.” Marc may sound like someone who wants to flatter the former world champion and be in his good books, but just one look at his eyes and you realise his sincerity and respect. His impression changes a bit when we ask him about Jorge Lorenzo.
What happened to Lorenzo in Austin? The man who was supposed to be the top rival of Cabroncito (as Marquez is referred to) at the beginning of the season seems to have lost his patience and confidence. How is it that a world champion makes a rookie mistake and jump-starts the race?
What happened to Jorge in Austin is difficult to understand and explain, but, yes, one thing that became very evident is that in a race anything can happen – it doesn’t really matter if you’re an expert rider or not. Everyone makes mistakes. As regards to Jorge looking more stressed out nowadays, the reason could be that he’s trying to iron out the issues and get back to winning. I have nothing to do with it… (laughs).
Is Jorge still your main rival?
Lorenzo was, and still is, a formidable rider, irrelevant of the fact that he’s made some mistakes during the season. He’s a contender for the title along with others, such as Dani Pedrosa, who is always there, and obviously Valentino, who is capable of anything on the track.
So far, you haven’t mentioned the Ducati riders. Have you ever thought of riding a Desmosedici?
You never know. I don’t think you can ever say that there’s one thing in life you will never do. Maybe in the future, who knows…?
What do you think about the last minute change of regulations? How did it affect MotoGP?
Eventually, everything that has been done by the organisers – Dorna – is to give a push to the series. We need to work hard to keep it at the top. Consider, for instance, Ducati, one of the key motorbike manufacturers in the championship – they went through a difficult phase, and I think it was right to give them a helping hand. Once they reach our level, they’ll have to follow the same rules as us.
In the Austin paddock, we saw Casey Stoner again. Do you have any regrets for not having raced with him?
Seeing Stoner racing on a bike has always been a great show, but defeating him would have been even better! But, unfortunately, that will never happen as Casey has already declared he will never be back again.
Your riding style reminds us of Stoner. Like him, you also like racing at the limit, don’t you?
Once I’m on the racetrack, I am focused and I give it everything. I think the impression of riding on the limit comes from people’s perception while watching my performance on TV, but this is my style of riding the Honda. I need to feel the bike going fast, and, as I have always have everything under control, there’s nothing to worry about.
Fear doesn’t seem to be a part of you. Are you scared of anything?
(He stays silent for a while.) There is something I am scared of (he mumbles). There is something… When I go to the seaside to swim, I’m scared of the water depth. It frightens me, because I can’t see what lies beneath.
What makes you angry?
Many things, but I will just mention one… not winning something. That is something that makes me feel furious!
Is this the reason why you always look happy and relaxed? Is this balance the secret of a champion?
You can have your beliefs and be calm, but if the surrounding environment is not in harmony with you, it’s very difficult to stay serene. Believe me, the people who surround me are a great help for me. I like to be happy, to laugh, to enjoy, but when I have to work, I forget about jokes and I turn myself into a serious fellow. When you win, you feel happy, and now that I ride as the world champion I feel much more confident than before. Anyway, in order to go ahead and grow, there are many factors – talent counts, even luck does, and I will never forget that behind each victory of mine there is the hard work of my team.
Who is the person you’re closest to?
My brother Alex. We live together, and we are much more than siblings – we are friends. And, for me, it is very important to know he is okay and that he supports me.
The environment surrounding Marc is, therefore, one of his secrets – along with the undeniable talent in his right wrist. And the words of Emilio Alzamora, former 125cc World champion, who has been with Marquez for several years, helps us to better understand the importance of his clan. “Marc has got everything from his family. He still lives with his parents, who provided him with an excellent education and strong values. He still spends the majority of his free time with his brother, and his only concern is the sport. He doesn’t have any distractions. He lives for the motorcycle. He works with his team and his mechanics, but he wants to be with them as much as his real family. When the race is over, it’s with them he wants to have dinner and spend the evening. In my life, the only rider I’ve met who is similar to him is Valentino, ” explains Alzamora.
The number 46 comes back again. The last thing we ask Marc is who would he like to share the pits with in future. “With Valentino,” he says smiling. And he adds, “to be honest, there is no rider today that I wouldn’t like to share a pit with.”
Marc Marquez, born on the 17th of February 1993, in Cervera, Spain, made his debut in the 125cc category in the World Championship in 2008. In 2010, he became the Champion of the 125cc MotoGP class. In 2012, he became the Champion in the Moto2 category, and, in 2013, he made his MotoGP debut and became the World Champion with 6 victories.
On the right, Marquez celebrates his victory in Austin along with his team. He considers his team to be his second family. Below, he is with Valentino Rossi during a conference held last year. After having admired him, and having watched his performances for several years, eventually in 2013 he fulfilled his dream – to race with him in Moto GP… and he went much further, even beating him!
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