Marc Marquez insists he was fully informed and respects Honda's decision to sign Pol Espargaro in place of his younger brother Alex in MotoGP next season.

Espargaro will join Repsol Honda after spearheading the growing KTM project, while Alex will be moved to the satellite LCR Honda team on a new two-year deal that includes factory support.

Marquez said he is 'happy' to have Pol as a future team-mate, but also reminded Espargaro of the pressure to deliver when riding for the most successful team in MotoGP.

"Pol will also be a strong team-mate because he's coming to Honda to fight for podiums and victories, because if not there's no sense," Marquez said.

Marquez issued a similar warning about the need to live up to the high Repsol Honda expectations when Jorge Lorenzo signed for what was billed as a 'dream team' in 2019, which later turned into a nightmare for the triple world champion.

The eight-time world champion continued: "Always I respect Honda's decisions because they try to make the best decision for the team and the riders.

"After the special moment in Valencia when Jorge [retired], Honda was looking for the best rider available and it was the world champion of Moto2, Alex."

Alex has now lost that seat before he's even completed a racing lap. A popular theory is that the 24-year-old will benefit from less pressure by being at the satellite LCR team.

Marc seemed to agree with that sentiment, although it's impossible to say how well Alex will manage the pressure until he's actually been in a MotoGP race and Marc himself won the title as a rookie at Repsol Honda in 2013. Nonetheless, it's true that from testing performances so far Alex looks unlikely to challenge for a podium this season.

"This year Alex will be in the Repsol Honda team but then next year he will be in LCR, which I think is a very good move for him because to be in the Repsol Honda team means be on the podium.

"For a normal rookie rider, the normal step is to start with a team like LCR and it's good for him that it will be with all the factory support from HRC."

One of the big talking points has been whether demoting Alex to a satellite team might cause cracks to appear in the relationship between Marc and Honda, some even pondering if it could cast doubt on his desire to fulfil the recent four-year contract extension.

But Alex maintains he is happy to achieve his target of a new two-year contract while Marc insisted, once again, that he does not overrule Honda when it comes to deciding on his team-mate.

"Of course, before the rumours I already knew everything," Marc said. "I never say 'no' to a team-mate.

"For example, when they were speaking with Jorge, I'm in a position where if we speak with Honda and say 'no, I want another one…' but this is something I would never do.

"It's the second Honda bike and all the riders on the grid can take it. It's a Honda decision and I respected them, but of course I knew about it and they informed me before the rumours and I accepted it.

"It's like I say, I have my own career and this year my team-mate is my brother but on the track he's the world champion of Moto2. Honda now want to give the opportunity to him in the LCR team and of course I'm happy with this decision and happy for my brother.

"I'm also happy to share the team with Pol next year and it will be kind of interesting to see where is the level of KTM, where is the level of Honda.

"And it’s like I said, being in the Repsol Honda team means being on the podium, if not it's a disaster."

Pol, sitting a social distance away from Marc during Thursday's pre-event press conference for the Spanish MotoGP season opener, said of the move:

"It's been a long confinement with a lot of ups and downs, quite big decisions and a lot of emotions. But to ride together with the best rider on the grid as part of the world championship-winning team and factory, it's super-difficult to say no.

"But it was not an easy decision because it will be four amazing years with KTM, where we have gone from the deepest position [on the grid] in Qatar three years ago and now we are in a place where we can start to enjoy the racing. So to leave now it's very sad from my side.

"But I'm 29 years old, like the others I want the maximum in MotoGP and I think to move into this factory is going to be super exciting."

Espargaro's arrival and the resulting change of team for Alex Marquez means there is no room at LCR for Cal Crutchlow next season.

"Cal did a really great job with Honda, he gave many inputs because he also rode the Yamaha and Ducati bikes and he has been many years in the Honda HRC family with all the official support," Marc said.

"It's a Honda decision, but of course it's always sad when you see somebody is moving from the team… but in this case it's for my brother so it's okay!"

Crutchlow, who has won three races during five seasons for LCR, is being linked Aprilia.

 

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