Official: Alex Marquez gets Repsol Honda ride
It's official: Repsol Honda will have a double Marquez line-up next season, with Alex stepping up to MotoGP alongside older brother and reigning six-time champion Marc.
Alex, the newly crowned Moto2 champion, has been chosen over the likes of Johann Zarco to take the place of Jorge Lorenzo, who announced his retirement on the eve of this weekend's Valencia season finale.
Marc insisted he would not apply pressure on Honda to sign his brother, but the reality is that HRC's top priority must be to keep Marc happy, especially with negotiations underway for a post-2020 contract extension.
Repsol would also welcome the unique marketing opportunities presented by the Marquez brothers, especially in Spain.
But it certainly won't be an easy situation for Alex, who has long struggled to emerge from Marc's shadow - despite two world titles of his own - and will now be directly compared to the #93 on an almost daily basis.
'Honda Racing Corporation is pleased to announce the signing of double World Champion Alex Marquez. The young Spanish rider will join the Repsol Honda Team on a one-year contract', read a HRC statement. 'He will move from the intermediate class to partner eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez in 2020 for his debut season in the premier class aboard the Honda RC213V.'
Alex, a 12-time grand prix winner in the smaller classes, has taken part in several previous Honda MotoGP outings.
The first involved a few guest laps alongside Marc after his Moto3 title victory at Valencia in 2014 (pictured), followed by some shakedown laps at Misano 2016 and then some proper test time on a Marc VDS Honda at Jerez in November of 2017.
The 23-year-old is now set to make his full-time MotoGP debut at Valencia on Tuesday and Wednesday.
However, it's believed Alex will be placed at the LCR team for the test and use a plain black livery on a 2019 bike, while HRC development rider Stefan Bradl joins Marc in the Repsol box to continue work on the 2020 prototype.
It's also possible that LCR - which has an empty garage while Takaaki Nakagami recovers from shoulder surgery - is seen as offering a lower pressure environment with which to let Alex learn the RCV, before being officially presented as Marc's team-mate in full Repsol colours at a later date.
Meanwhile, having split from KTM, then done a commendable job as a stand-in at LCR Honda, Zarco's options now look to restricted to either accepting a seat at Avintia Ducati or taking over from Alex at the Marc VDS Moto2 team.