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Why You Need to Know Marc Marquez (Updated: Possible Changes to “Rookie Rule”)

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.

24 Comments

  1. Philip says:

    It’s too bad Ezpeleta dropped the rookie rule for Marquez. He has been on the best machine in each class the last three years, I like him and he is a phenomenal rider but it would have been interesting to see him on one of the o so important CRT bikes next year. That would have eliminated all of the sponsorship issues and would allow all of us to see if an ‘alien’ on a CRT could challenge any of the factory guys. Plus if he was from any other country the rule would not have been erased from the books, no like.

  2. Guy says:

    Marquez will make the show alright and be a star among the Aliens in a year two but I think the real talent to keep an eye on is Maverick Vinales in Moto3. He has the skill, aggression and also the Repsol sponsorship that will propel him right up through Moto2 to MotoGP in two or three seasons. I wouldn’t count out an Italian resurgence right after Vinales with riders like Fenati and Antonelli showing great style.

  3. ReflexTowing says:

    The riding style, aggression, and lack of maturity remind me of a younger Simoncelli. Sic eventually evened out, but it was sometimes scary to watch. Hopefully Marquez will mellow over time. Surprised that bell ringer last season didn’t have a bigger effect. Didn’t it leave him with double vision for weeks?

  4. Brian says:

    I fear sometimes his vast and amazing talent trumps his lack of maturity. He has done some dangerous things and has endangered the lives of other riders on the track. (practice in Malaysia last year?)

  5. Gary says:

    Whooo, that was some very close racing, bet there was some heavy breathing and some pants being cleaned out over that one!

  6. Gutterslob says:

    Moto2 is definitely exciting. Whether that’s down to the low power output of the spec engine, or the supposed lack of talent from midfield to the back (many are “pay riders”, rich-man’s sons in other words) or the forgiving nature of the Dunlops coupled with the lack of electronic aids, I cannot say….. but it’s definitely better entertainment than current MotoGP.

    Known about Marc Marquez for a while. I won’t be surprised that the abolish that Rookie Rule just to get him on a Repsol Honda next year (cue Stoner on his view on Dorna and the FIA, fully justified). He’s got the right passport and sponsors to make it happen, aside from the fact that he’s an exceptional rider. He’s possibly one of only three “Tier 1″ riders I’ve seen in Moto2 since its inception, able to bring his ability to the fore when the tyres go and they need to ride on rims. The others were the late Shoya Tomizawa, who was killed in 2010, and Toni Elias, who sadly couldn’t get heat into the MotoGP Bridgestones for the life of him.

    Some say Marquez this arrogant/cocky vibe about him and is a bit hot-headed, but so was Lorenzo at that age. I just put it down to youth. Marquez does, however, seem to get away with more than others with regards to “racing incidents”, I’ve noticed.

  7. Patrick D says:

    Marquez is unlikely to challenge the popularity of many riders. He’s been involved in many controversial incidents in the class of late and it seems that his nationality and sponsorship protects him from appropriate retribution.
    He’s reckless, arrogant and not a popular figure outside his (substantial) fanbase. He might get his comeuppance in MotoGP.

    • Dave says:

      Sounds a little like the late Marco Simoncelli?

    • Gary says:

      Huh? So le’me get this straight … you think being Spanish “protects him from appropriate retribution”? What the …

      • Dave says:

        Dorna Sports is HQ’d in Madrid, Spain. CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta is Spanish. I’ve never seen a rider’s being Spanish (not a motorcycle rider anyway. Cycling, different story..)give them any kind of immunity but maybe these things are subtle..

  8. somewhat premature to label him as ‘heir apparent’ & the ‘new Valentino’

    He’s also got a reputation as overly aggresive ….

  9. 2wheelin says:

    Moto2 is SOO much better than boring azz MotoGP

    • Neil says:

      I agree. The racing is much closer and it really pits rider against rider. What good is a race when the top guys just clear out at the front? A robot could do that! We want to see men racing each other, not machines racing themselves. In Moto2 and now Moto3 we get very good racing. Sure the manufacturers do not benefit. But chassis builders do. – I like Marquez’ riding. He needs to be a little safer but he now knows firsthand about that after he got his bell rung in a crash.

      • Dave says:

        ” A robot could do that!”

        There are only 2 or 3 robots capable of doing it in Moto GP. lol

        I have not noticed Marquez being particularly dangerous and he seems to not crash much (wouldn’t be on top of the points if he did). He’s 19 and looking very much like he could be the next Stoner/Lorenzo. I sure wish they’d fix Moto GP. Really, it’d be easy to just do away with it and go forward with a class based on Moto 2, just bigger motors. It’s all of the stuff the Moto 2 bikes DON’T have that make it so much better than MotoGP.

      • Nick says:

        For another point of view, I don’t really care about the riders and who’s who, I can go read People magazine for that. MotoGP is an open class where the “TOP” riders compete on the TOP bikes. I want to see what the manufacturers can bring to the table. If one brand seems to find the extra horsepower one year and is out front then in following races or years the others will work harder to improve their lot. I actually find it thrilling when manufacturers and teams find the combinations that blow the others out of the water. I like close racing because it’s exciting but not at the expense of dumbing down the premier class. I root for the bikes and their manufacturers (and the engineers behind them) as much, if not more, than particular riders.

        • Dave says:

          There are many that share that point of view but not nearly enough to constitute a fan base large enough to justify a racing class. This is what happened in F1. They were wallet racing and for several years there were only 2 teams that were ever up front and usually not on the same weeks. People just lose interest when the racing action is put to sleep. They stop watching, the ROI goes out the window for sponsors and they leave. The result is a premier class with only 14 bikes on the grid, only 4 of which have any chance of winning.

          By contrast, NASCAR runs pig heavy, awful handling cars under tightly controlled rules. Viewership is massive and they’re printing money.

    • Provalogna says:

      +1

    • Gary says:

      +2. Those last two laps are a reminder of how entertaining top-tier racing CAN be. Pity it is not currently in MotoGP.

  10. Provalogna says:

    Wow! Thanks for that video! That was some big time heavyweight wrestling right there.

  11. Tom says:

    Sorry, since I also read visordown.com I already knew about this guy. Such the life of the jaded moto-head, lol.