Update with full quotes from Marc Marquez
MotoGP champion Marc Marquez gave an emotional response to the criticism he has received within Spain over a reported move to Andorra.
Speaking during Friday's preview for the Superprestigio Dirt Track event in Barcelona, attended by Crash.net
, the Repsol Honda star said that the proposed move - apparently leaked by the Andorra government - had not been designed to avoid Spanish tax but to train in peace during the winter.
While still planning to spend considerable time in Andorra, where he now has a house, Marquez stressed that he will continue to pay Spanish tax as normal, which would mean he is keeping Spanish residency.
Marquez is already a regular visitor to Andorra, which is only 120km from his home town of Cervera, where the record-breaking 21-year-old has lived with his parents until now.
“Before speaking about the Dirt Track racing in Barcelona, I wanted to say something very important," said Marquez, speaking in Spanish. "I'd like to talk about the debate and the fuss that has been created over me this past week. It is difficult to say, because I never speak about my private life but I think that this is an important moment. Those who know me know that I have always been very straightforward and very honest.
"I am 21 years old, I live with my family and I have always had a very close relationship with them, but like any young person I decided to get my own space, my own house and [I chose] to live in Andorra because I've been there many winters, many times of the year and, above all, because I'll also be there for many winters and many times of the year. It is an ideal and favourable environment to prepare myself physically.
"Taxes have not been the motivation. Moreover, I do not know what is going to happen in the future, but I want to make it clear that I pay and I'll continue to pay my taxes in Spain.
"I know that there have been all kinds of opinions and all of them are respectable. I don't want to justify myself to anyone here, but I think that there has been some very tough criticism aimed at me. In the end you never know when the career of a rider will end and, when I was 19 years old, I was about to leave racing after damaging my eyesight. Thanks to Dr. Bernat Sanchez I could return [pauses to wipe away tears]. This past week has been bad and I just want to thank all the people that have been supporting me and my family. The only thing I want is to continue enjoying riding my bike.”
Most other Spanish MotoGP stars have their official (tax) residence outside of Spain, either in Andorra or Switzerland.
Spain has an upper tax rate of around 50% (which is similar to its youth unemployment rate) while Andorra apparently offers a flat rate of 30,000 euro, plus 50,000 euro entrance fee, eventually rising to 10% of income.
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