Alex Márquez, current Moto2 world champion will join his brother 8-times Champ Marc at the Repsol Honda HRC MotoGP team in 2020, in replacement of Jorge Lorenzo. The team of the golden wing made the announcement on Monday through a brief press release.
The news puts an end to the persistent rumours which emerged after Lorenzo notify the public about his retirement, which took effect last Friday the 15th of November. The Márquez Brothers will therefore share a box within the same Japanese team. An unprecedented circumstance in the history of MotoGP.
A one year contract with the toughest bike on the grid
Alex’s new contract is unusually short. A single year seems insufficient for Alex to fully address this new major challenge. The youngest of the Marquez brothers will not only be making the leap to MotoGP, but he will be doing so on top the most temperamental and powerful machine on the track.
The ‘wild nature’ of the RC213V has famously caused multiple falls and several injuries to the pilot from the Balearic Islands, Jorge Lorenzo, all of which have accelerated his retirement. Apparently, the shortness of Alex’s contract has to do with the deadlines dictated by the MotoGP pilot’s market. For a long time, all of the MotoGP pilots have had their biannual contracts synchronised so that they all end their legal commitments with their respective teams at the end of the same year.
As it happens, the end of the two-year contract period between the pilots and their teams concludes at the end of 2020. With Lorenzo not having fulfilled his second season, Alex will step in to cover for the last year of his contract.
The possibility was always there of having offered the youngest of the Márquez brothers a three-year contract until the end of 2022. The Japanese group, however, has considered it more prudent to first see how Alex adapts to MotoGP over a single season. Depending on how the debutant performs next year then, he might or might not be offered another two-year contract.
Other difficulties along the way
There were other hurdles along the way to be able to get Alex to make the leap to MotoGP. The youngest of the Márquez brothers had already signed for his renewal with DVS Team, with which he had planned to defend his Moto2 crown next year.
Let’s not forget that the Catalan pilot had been part of that team since 2014, year in which he climbed up from Moto 3, also with the crown under his arm. Solving all of those legal obstacles, with sponsors also playing a fundamental role, must have taken a few frantic conversations.
The activity in the Cheste offices and motorhomes was in fact very intense during the last weekend in Valencia. The complexity of the situation was such that the announcement could not be made during the weekend, as it would have been planned, but details remained to be finalised until Monday.
Alex debuts with a black overall and bike and no publicity
The complex contractual process and the quick succession of events have meant that Alex had to wear a black, advert-free overall during the first of two post-season test days this Tuesday in Cheste. Neither he nor his bike had any logo from any sponsor.
Also, his first contact with a MotoGP bike was not with the dreaded orange beast. Alex will begin his training in the top category with an LCR Honda of the Japanese satellite team. In a wise move, the HCR team strategists have decided that both Marc and house testing pilot, the German Estefan Bradl, are going to be in charge of debuting the new bike.
With their joint experience, they will be able to develop and improve the eastern beast. Their input and feedback will be essential to decide which parts and devices it incorporates. Good luck to Alex Marquez! He is going to need it.
Images: Repsol Honda.