While both Marc and Alex Marquez relished the return to competition, albeit virtually, the brothers have led the calls to fight the coronavirus spread which they hope will result in returning to ‘real’ racing sooner.

Alex Marquez has claimed victory in the inaugural MotoGP Virtual Race against nine other premier class riders, including Repsol Honda team-mate and his brother Marc who finished fifth, which was held digitally over six laps of Mugello.

While the action was largely light relief amid the coronavirus crisis, both Marquez brothers enjoyed taking part in their first ‘race’ of 2020, as the sport waits until it can safely start the season later this year.

Both Repsol Honda riders naturally savoured racing again but used the event to tell fans to remain vigilant and follow all health authority advice to fight the coronavirus.

“Fantastic! What a result! It was a really funny event with all of the other riders and I am really pleased to win my first race,” Alex said after winning the first-ever MotoGP Virtual Race.

“I found a good setting with the RC213V which let me race how I wanted to and I knew I had a few different lines for when I needed. Even at just six laps you really needed to stay focused because with one small mistake it can go very wrong.

“I enjoyed it a lot and I hope everyone who watched also had a good time. Let’s hope that everyone continues to follow the advice of the doctors and scientists so that we can return to a more normal life, seeing friends and family, enjoying the outside and going racing.”

Never content after missing out on the podium, Marc paid credit to his brother who he had picked as favourite to win the event having raced him on the video game before, and wants to return to real racing soon “because it means the world is in a better situation”.

“First of all congratulations to Alex on the win, I knew from our time playing together he would be very fast but he did a great job,” Marc said. “Of course, I would have liked better than fifth, but the result isn’t too bad and as a team we did well.

“You need a different style in these kinds of races so I had to adapt my strategy a little bit during the day. A good time and I am really happy to be able to do something for the fans.

“Now we want to be riding and battling back on track, because it means the world is in a better situation, but first we have to win the battle with the Corona Virus. Stay safe everyone.”

MotoGP has already lined up the second Virtual Race for two weeks time (Sunday April 12), with the full rider line-up and virtual venue to be confirmed at a later date. Organisers have promised factory Ducati and KTM riders will also take part in the second race.

Currently, the 2020 MotoGP season is set to start in mid-May at Le Mans but the French round looks set to become the latest postponement, along with the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello which is still scheduled for the final weekend in May. Last week, the Spanish MotoGP at Jerez was postponed from its May 1-3 date.