Alex Marquez interview: “Training with Marc is extra motivation”
Alex Marquez set a goal to be amongst the top ten this season, but in the first eight races of the year he has shown that he can fight as part of the leading group. The Repsol rider is happy with the results delivered in the first half of the Moto3 World Championship season, considering it is his first full year and that he is competing at some circuits for the first time.
Aware that there is still much to learn, he is hoping to build on this good start to the season in the upcoming races.
You are fifth overall in Moto3 after 8 races and lately you’re always part of the leading group. Were you expecting this? What is your overall assessment?
“I did not expect at all to be so close to the front group. My goal this season was to be in the top ten and in the end, from the first race, we have been able to compete for the top positions —despite the results at Austin and Jerez. The truth is that we lack a bit of ‘killing off’ in the races, but we can be more than happy with this first year —which features many new circuits for me. Riding against these rivals I have learned many things that I wouldn’t have learnt alone. Now we have circuits that I am familiar with, but I cannot relax, we must continue with the same mentality and continue this line of work.”
You’ve led races for many laps, but what is needed to take that step up and make the podium?
“I think the problem is I’m going on the limit throughout the race. I have to push and push, because otherwise the other riders escape from me. During the final laps, when they go for it and lower their times, I’m left a little behind. This is what we must try to improve.”
You are one of the newcomers to the Moto3 category. Which rider has surprised you most on track?
“Personally, I was surprised with Livio Loi, because it is his first year and he is doing very well. He is small and has to use a ballast. Being so small, he reminds me of my brother when he raced in the Spanish Championship. On the track you can see that he has talent.”
Salom, Viñales and Rins are the three riders who are fighting for the championship. What can you tell us about each of them as a rider?
“Luis Salom, as we have seen, is having a great year. Has made a big change in his mentality and plans every Grand Prix well, taking off that half-second at the end of the race. Referring to Alex [Rins], is having a great season. It is his second year in Moto3 and everything pointed to him being in these positions. During practice he is very strong and then he fights hard in the races. He has been close to a victory at some races, but he’s sometimes lacked that final step. Maverick [Viñales], has been struggling a bit in these last few races, but he always ends up fighting for victory. One thing that is clear is that there you have to be consistent.”
The rest of the season, there is only one circuit you do not know: Silverstone. What can we expect from Alex Marquez for the remainder of the season?
“I don’t know, maybe they will be harder for me than new tracks. It depends on how you approach it. We have to go with the same mentality: 100% from the first session. If we follow the line we have taken so far, we have the chance to be at the front with the fastest riders, but I guess that knowing the circuits will help us slightly. I am keen to ride at Indianapolis. Last year it was my first weekend in the championship and I really liked the circuit. I had fun on the bike and it’s one that I want to go back to this year.”
What is it like being on the same team as Alex Rins?
“For me it is good to have a teammate who is fighting for the win, because we share data and that helps me to improve in practice. It’s very important to learn this for next year. The rivalry grows because we are two riders up at the front, but we get along.”
The jump up to the World Championship means more media recognition. Have you noticed changes with that?
“People notice you more, but that happened when I rode in the CEV. When you’re in the pits or on the track you focus on the task at hand. Outside the circuit itself you have to know how to take things so as not to get a big head and to keep your feet on the ground. It’s the World Championship and people ask for photos, interviews … and you get used to it. When you step on the track is when the job really begins. The challenge is to focus on winning. Your dream and your goal in the future is to win a title and for that you have to work hard and always fight.”
You’re 17 and you’ve already spent half your life at the circuits. How is the life of a 17-year-old in the paddock?
“Being here takes away things from you. You cannot do what your friends do. They go out partying and you cannot, because you have a race or because you have to train the next day. But I don’t feel bad about it, because this is what I love to do. I know I have a responsibility to train every day —that I have to be prepared. The truth is that I take it pretty well.”
Marc, besides being your brother, is also what to you?
“He’s the rider that I watch most on track. Even if he was not my brother, it would be the same. Our riding style is very similar, we use the body and elbows a lot. Part of that is something that I learned from him. Off the track he is a very big help for me. We discuss training together when we meet. The truth is that having a brother in MotoGP, who has 5 or 6 years in the World Championship and knows the circuits well, is a huge help.”
What is it like training with a double World Champion?
“To me, it’s an extra motivation because when you win, it is more satisfying. Sometimes I manage to, but it’s tough. I try to get as close to him as I can and make things difficult, but in the end he always pulls something out of nowhere. I always watch him when we train, and training with someone faster than you makes you stronger every day and more willing to improve. He is very strong cycling, the age difference is noticeable, but I try to close in on him anyway. In three years we’ll talk again about this…”
Do you watch all his practice sessions and races live?
“Some practices I do not see, because we have work to do during the day and I cannot watch the sessions. Whenever I have a few spare minutes, I look to see how he is going. I watch mine on video, but I don’t have time for his as well. I watch all the qualifying sessions and races, always.”
Are they tough to watch?
“When you’re also racing on a weekend, you also have to know how to cope, because if you suffer a lot you get tired and it seems like you are the one racing. You have to be calm for when it is your turn.”
On your helmet there is a cowboy on a bike. What does that mean?
“That is because one day in North America, where they have shooting ranges, I tried out some guns and I was good at it. They called me ‘Pistol Marquez’ that day, so that’s why I use this design.”
Source: Repsol Media