Marc Marquez, good friend Esteve Rabat and younger brother Alex Marquez swept the MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 grand prix titles in 2014.
It's the first time in history that brothers have both become grand prix champions, and all three are from the Catalunya region of Spain. But there's another reason why their shared success was notable.
The trio are proudly known as the 'Rufea Team', after their favourite dirt track training circuit near Lerida, two hours inland from Barcelona and near the Marquez's hometown of Cervera.
Riding modified motocross bikes together on a deserted dirt oval (see video below) may be a long way from the glamour of a MotoGP weekend, but it is where the Marquez brothers and Rabat honed the sliding and bike control skills used to great effect this season.
While Marc charged to a second successive MotoGP title this year, with a record number of race wins, Rabat wrapped up his debut title in the Moto2 category. Alex Marquez then completed the Rufea trilogy with a tense final round championship victory in the Moto3 class.
“When we did the world champions picture the feeling was incredible, because it looked like when we are just training together and now we are all world champions,” Marc Marquez said.
“I felt really, really happy. We didn't expect it. The first target was [for all the Rufea Team] to try to win some races this year, especially for my brother and Tito. But they started really strong and I'm really happy for them.
“Of course I'm really happy for my brother but also Tito, because he is like another member of our family.”
Next year will see a new chapter for the Rufea Team, with 18-year-old Alex stepping up to Moto2 as team-mate to Rabat at Marc VDS - putting the pair into direct competition.
“Tito and Alex will be in the same class but I think they are in different positions,” said Marc. “Tito will again be fighting for victories. He is the favourite and will try to defend the title. My brother needs to learn next year. His first year in Moto2 will be difficult.
“Nothing will change: Tito will train with us in the winter time - and then Tito must help him on the track!” Marc joked.
By attempting to defend his title, Rabat has broken the trend of Moto2 champions moving straight to MotoGP. But looking further ahead, few would bet against the Rufea Team eventually racing in MotoGP together.
A possible glimpse of the future was given the day after the Valencia race, when Alex was rewarded by Honda for his title victory by being given the chance to ride Marc's RC213V - alongside his brother - at the test.
|Alex Marquez makes MotoGP debut - riding alongside brother Marc|
“Some people think Alex has an advantage being my brother, but for me I think it is the opposite,” Marc said. “He has some disadvantage because he feels more pressure, everybody is looking at him. The pressure on him [at Valencia] was especially high because everybody said 'your brother is champion, Tito is champion…'
“The important thing is that he is doing his own career and he now already has one world championship. I'm really happy for him, my family and his team. Why not one day be in the same category [MotoGP] as me - and if possible in the same team?
“You never know. If you want to arrive in MotoGP you need to demonstrate a level at and you need to ride for yourself, not because someone else is pushing.”
The Marquez brothers were joined on track at Valencia by seven time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi, who believes Alex will reach the premier-class.
“Alex demonstrated this year that he is not there just because he is the brother of Marc,” Rossi declared. “I'm a very good friend of [Jack] Miller, but at the same time I like the younger Marquez a lot in the last races.
“The situation was very 'hot' but he always kept quiet, stayed calm in the battle with Jack and did what he had to do to win the championship. I think in the future he will be another strong opponent and I hope to still be in MotoGP when he arrives!”