Reigning Moto3 world champion Alex Marquez admits he is enjoying the lack of incessant pressure that comes with being a class rookie as he prepares for his Moto2 debut.
Unlike fierce rival Jack Miller, who skipped the intermediate class in favour of pitting his wits against the MotoGP elite, Marquez opted to join the control 600 class with Marc VDS's Estrella Galicia supported outfit, a team whose riders have finished first or second in the Moto2 standings for two years running.
The younger of the precociously talented Marquez brothers, Alex, at just 18-years of age, believes he can spring an occasional surprise in 2015 as he adapts to the 600's extra weight and power.
“Yes, you don't have the pressure to win, win and win,” he told Crash.net
at his team's official launch in Madrid on Thursday.” You can play a little bit. You can take more risks in the races to make 120 percent. [You can] enjoy [it] and try and go on the limit. If you are happy [with yourself] and with the team you can make a really good job. Also you can do some surprises at the end of the year, so we will see.”
As was the case in the first half of 2014, when a triumvirate of class rookies took the class by storm, big things are expected of Marquez and ex-Moto3 team-mate Alex Rins. However, judging by preseason form, Rins has been the man who has looked most likely to challenge at the front of the class while Marquez ended the first official test at Valencia 26th while he placed 16th at Jerez. Rins was inside the top ten.
Will Marquez junior be judging his own progress against that of his fellow rookie? “In the end it is normal to try and be with Rins because he is the rookie. I want to win this trophy at the end of the year so it is normal to compare. We will see after the first race in which position we are.”
Then there is the issue of team-mates. Marc VDS's new recruit makes up one third of the 'Rufea Gang', a trio which trains together away from the circuit that includes older brother Marc and new team-mate and reigning world champion Tito Rabat. Good friends off the track, questions have been raised as to whether Marquez and Rabat can maintain their relationship while battling for supremacy in the Marc VDS garage.
Alex believes that as long as they restrict their rivalry to the race track there will be no problems. “This is the objective – to keep the same relation,” he smiled. “It's ok but the reality is that in motorbikes only one rider wins, not a team. Only one rider has the chance. At the moment the relationship is the same. We need to say, 'Ok, on the track is where we are racing. Outside is the same relationship [as before].' We both need to understand this.”
Marquez will get his first taste of Moto2 fairing-bashing at Qatar, a track at which he came so close to winning a year ago. For him the aim is clear: continue improving and the results will come. “We will see but the objective is to always improve,” he said. “[In Qatar] to make some podiums and to stay constant in the top ten.”
to read the full interview...