Marc Márquez: “Repsol Honda will always be the team for which I will be remembered”

8 minutes

The eight-time World Champion talks about his time with the Repsol Honda Team in an interview prior to the Valencian Grand Prix weekend.

Marc Márquez: “Repsol Honda will always be the team for which I will be remembered”

You are going to face your last Grand Prix with the Repsol Honda Team. How do you feel?

“It’s the Wednesday before the Valencia Grand Prix, the last of the year. Obviously now the stands are empty, with a calmness that will not be there later during the weekend. Being the last race of the year, it is always special, but this one is different. I don’t like to say that it is my last Grand Prix with Honda, because you never know what will happen in the future. But it will be the end of a spell with the Repsol Honda Team and it will be a weekend with many emotions.”

How have you worked on it mentally? How do you face it?

“It is always very difficult to work on how to face a Grand Prix, especially when it comes to emotions. At the Valencia Grand Prix there are sure to be unforgettable moments, because I want to do my best on track -and to do that I need to be 100% focused.”

What does the Repsol Honda Team mean to you?

“The Repsol Honda Team has been -and always will be- the team that has defined my sporting career and my life. I have been with them for 11 years and we have won 6 world titles, something that I am not going to achieve with another team. I am 30 years old now. They will be the team with which he I have achieved the most success on a personal and collective level.”

Do you recognise the bike behind you? What does it mean to you? What memories does it bring back to you?

“I do recognise this bike. This is where it all started. It was from my rookie year and it was a dream debut: My first year in MotoGP, and winning the title. It was the most fun year in MotoGP for me, because I had no pressure on me, I could do anything and everything went well. Here I had the opportunity to join the team where my idols had raced, in addition to sharing the box with one of them: Dani Pedrosa. From there, these 11 successful years began.”

What is the difference between the Marc from 2013 and from 2023?

“We have learned a lot; more from the difficult moments and the setbacks we have received, but we have also enjoyed a lot of the good moments. You cannot compare a 20-year-old kid with a 30-year-old, with all his ideas clearer in his head and more mature. I have learned many things and the decision I have made now at 30 years old is one I would have been incapable of making at 22, 23 or 24 years old, because I was not mature enough to do it.”

And what hasn’t changed about you over the years?

“My character, my smile and, above all, my ambition have not changed. That remains the same as when I started out. This is one of the reasons for the change. I am here to try to be the best on the track and to do this you have to try to find the best solution. There are many times that it is difficult, but I would not be able to sleep soundly tomorrow if I had doubts or if I were thinking “what if I had done this?” I am a rider who, both on and off the track, does what he feels is right and what I need in order to try to fight for the leading positions.”

Throughout all these years with Repsol, what is a moment that stands out?

“There are many moments with Repsol, and above all I remember moments at the circuit the most: the details like when I got in their plane, many events, the Sunday dinners in Valencia once the season was over, the fun parties… these are moments that I will never forget. Since I have been there for so many years, I have seen many people come and go at Repsol, different teams such as communications departments and sponsoring, but they have always performed excellently, and I have felt very well treated. I feel privileged.”

Do you think that having the support of a brand like this has helped you in terms of recognition in Spain?

“The entire paddock wants to be a Repsol Honda Team rider and wants to be with Repsol because they are the sponsor with the longest history in MotoGP, with ties to motorcycling and competition for the longest time… Everyone would like to have a bike in Repsol colours, to have your picture shown everywhere.”

When you are alone and think about who you are, what you have achieved and what you mean to this sport, what comes to mind? What do you feel?

“All the people who support, you value it very much -not only in the good times, but also in the bad times. For me it makes no sense to go around the track alone, for me it is competition that makes sense, creating excitement for the fans, seeing the paddock full, a little girl or boy coming up to you and starting to cry… These are reactions that you create in people that I would never have imagined. As a child you imagine the life of a rider, but you don’t imagine the life of a star.”

What was your debut like, with riders like Lorenzo, Rossi and Pedrosa on the same track?

“The first race in Qatar, when I was able to go behind Pedrosa and Valentino -but not Lorenzo because he escaped quickly. But seeing Pedrosa’s name, Rossi’s name and Lorenzo’s name when you’re riding… You’re in Moto3 -125cc back in my time-, then in Moto2, but when you arrive in MotoGP and see that, you realise that it’s a big thing.”

Which was the easiest race for you?

“There were many that I didn’t win by being the fastest, but rather I won by being the smartest or by managing the race in a different way. I won some at Montmeló not by being the fastest but by managing the race in the best way, and many others. I won in the Netherlands, which is a circuit that I am not good at, but I have won many times there. They stick with you, but there have been so many… it’s good that there are so many that you forget them.”

Which was the toughest?

“The one I suffered most in? I think 2013 here in Valencia. It wasn’t the hardest, but it was the longest, by far because I had to finish fourth if Lorenzo won the race. And it was very long because when you are at the limit you are very focused and the laps go by quickly, but when you have doubts, you don’t go to the limit, you know you can’t crash… you think more things. The race seemed to go on forever, but it gave me the title in 2013.”

We are at Turn 1 in Valencia. Does it remind you of anything?

“At this corner, in the 2017 season, I made the famous save that is by far one of the best saves I have ever had. That save was sheer nonconformity. I was so calm that I tried to create tension to concentrate on the race again and I almost went down, but the save allowed me to finish the race on the podium and win the title.”

What are you going to miss most about your experience with Repsol?

“What will I miss about Repsol Honda? I will miss everything, from the entrance to the box, to the colours, the people there, the bike… I haven’t known anything else. Since I joined in 2013 I have been with the same people, the same colours, the same box, with everything the same… The question is what I won’t miss.”

What message do you want to send to the fans?

“I know that many Repsol Honda fans will continue to support no.93 as well, because as I said in my post when my departure was announced, “we are separated, but always united.” In some way we are united. Whatever I do, and no matter how things in the new stage of my career, this will be the team of my life, of my professional career and with which I will be remembered.”

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