Marquez the Merciless. My name for him back when he was the scourge of Moto2: he earned it fully. Has anyone watched the on-board of his first lap at Motegi last year? His start went badly wrong, but in the first half lap he passed 22 riders. Every pass absolutely ruthless. Of course he won.
He’s clearly brought the same attitude with him to MotoGP – almost incomprehensible talent combined with an irresistible urge to overtake. He won his second-ever MotoGP, and so far (four rounds in) has two poles and a full house of rostrum finishes.
He’s 20, and quite clearly a phenomenon.
Then there’s the Marc off the bike. Marquez the Merciful, perhaps. Cheeky choirboy mode, radiating enjoyment and smiling a lot. He sees the funny side. An engaging youngster.
So polite. So pitiless. So damned fast.
By now his path to glory is familiar: from a working-class family in Cervera, not quite halfway to the mountains of Andorra from Barcelona, Marc was talent-spotted at age eight, and soon found himself in the team and under the care of former 125cc World Champion Emilio Alzamora. The strong Spanish entry-level support system, most especially RACC (Royal Automobile Club of Catalunya), provided top-level machinery that his family could not afford; Emilio has fostered his talent, Repsol took him under its well-upholstered wing… and here he is.
The fast track, right into the factory Honda team. His path is Rossi-like: one year to learn and one to win in the junior classes, then the big-time. Where his results so far outrank Valentino’s. And he’s even younger than the last great child prodigy, Freddie Spencer, whose records Marc is breaking race by race.
Precocious talent. And, rivals be warned, he’s not the only one. This year another Marquez has turned up for a first full season. In the Moto3 maelstrom he’s managed a fourth and a fifth in the first four rounds. A great deal better than Marc did in his first four 125 GPs, though he was on the rostrum at the sixth.
How did this humble working-class family find itself on the upper reaches of the World Championships? Here is the back-story, in the words of father, son and brother.