Marc Marquez is a 19 year old Spanish phenom. He is also the heir apparent to Casey Stoner at the Repsol Honda MotoGP team. Who is he?
Marquez is the second youngest 125cc World champion in history, and while winning the 2010 125cc championship, he had 10 wins and 12 poles (a record). Last year, he moved to the Moto2 class, ultimately finishing second in the championship to Stefan Bradl.
Despite finishing second last year, Marquez was almost certainly the fastest rider in the class. Bad luck, and the lingering effects of a concussion near the end of the year cost him the championship.
Indeed, with his sparkling personality and undeniable speed, Marquez is considered by many to be the next Valentino Rossi in terms of fan popularity and racing success in the premier class. Pretty heady stuff. Marquez currently sits second in the Moto2 championship this year, and the video at the bottom of this article will give you a taste for some of the exciting racing in that class.
While Marquez is virtually certain to move to MotoGP next year, the “rookie rule” that prohibits a first year rider from membership on a factory team poses some significant issues for Marquez and his sponsors. Particularly in light of the retirement of Casey Stoner, Honda would undoubtedly like to take Marquez directly to the factory Repsol team, but only a rule change would permit this.
Marquez has a long-standing relationship with the Spanish oil and gas giant, Repsol. The two Honda satellite teams are sponsored by competing oil companies, including Castrol (sponsor of San Carlo Honda Gresini) and ELF (sponsor of LCR Honda). This creates another, sticky issue for Marquez next year. We shall see how it all turns out, but we suspect Marquez will join the “aliens” at the front of the premier class soon.
UPDATE: Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO for Dorna, has given an interview during which he has stated that the manufacturers’ association (MSMA) has decided to drop the rule prohibiting rookies from joining a factory team, thereby opening the door for Marc Marquez to be hired on as Dani Pedrosa’s teammate at Repsol Honda next year. Formal approval of the change should occur at Assen in two weeks.