Alex Marquez added the 2019 Moto2 championship to his 2014 Moto3 success, which from the outside looks to have put him into a strong position for the next two seasons.
In his fifth season in the intermediate class, Marquez has managed to claim a Moto2 championship title. From a certain perspective this has taken him from seemingly been stuck in the intermediate class to strengthening his chances of landing a MotoGP ride for 2021.
To put this into context, Marquez made his debut in Moto2 the same season as Alex Rins, who spent two seasons in the class before moving up into MotoGP with Suzuki from 2017. Rins has gone onto claim eight podiums, including two victories in his three seasons with the Japanese manufacturer.
Also in the time from Marquez’s debut in 2015 to date, he has had a couple of teammates to have joined him at Marc VDS and to then have swiftly moved on to MotoGP, with Franco Morbidelli spending two seasons alongside Marquez before going into the premier class. His 2018 teammate, Joan Mir, spent a solitary season in Moto2 before getting a MotoGP ride for 2019. You could also include Esteve Rabat, who was Marquez’s teammate in 2015, and has been in MotoGP since 2016. Although it is important to note that 2015 was Rabat’s fifth season in the intermediate class, having won the title the previous season.
This, along with the ease of which to make comparisons with his brother, Marc Marquez, has meant a lot of scrutiny and pressure has been directed at Alex Marquez. This has been compounded by the success of Fabio Quartararo, Franco Morbidelli, Johann Zarco, Rins, Miguel Oliveira and Jack Miller in the premier class, to name just some. This has perhaps given the feeling that Marquez has been left behind, edging him more to a comparison with Thomas Luthi who has spent 2010 through to 2017 in Moto2, followed by a single MotoGP season before a return to the intermediate class in 2019.Embed from Getty Images
Although his Moto3 triumph came in his third season in the category, it has been noted by some in the sport that Marquez is a rider who takes his time to get the feel of a motorbike category and therefore can take a couple of seasons before he is fighting at the front.
This can be seen in the Moto2 class where Marquez’s first two seasons were perhaps anonymous as he finished the 2015 campaign fourteenth in the standings with a highest finish of fourth. He had a mixed campaign in 2016, finishing inside the points in two of the first nine races, but still managed to finish thirteenth and claim his first podium finish in the category at Aragon. He built on this in 2017 winning three races on his way to fourth in the championship. It was therefore natural to assume that 2018 would be a championship challenging season, yet this didn’t materialise with Marquez only able to claim six podium finishes, none of which were victories as he finished fourth once again.
This brings us to this season which looked like it would be a repeat of the 2018 Moto2 season for the Spaniard as he finished in seventh, third, fifth and twenty fourth in the opening four races, despite the intermediate class changing from Honda to Triumph engines. However, a run of five wins across the next six races which formed a run of eight podium finishes across ten races, meant he began to have some control over the Moto2 championship, meaning that when he finished fifth in Thailand, sixth in Japan and eighth in Australia, it wasn’t as big a disaster as could have otherwise been.Embed from Getty Images
With his 2019 Moto2 title, Marquez is now in a very strong position to potentially get a 2021 ride in the premier class. He will remain in Moto2 for the 2020 season with Marc VDS, his sixth in the class, and will have the opportunity to emulate Johann Zarco by winning two Moto2 titles. Something that Marquez’s former teammate, Rabat, also attempted in the intermediate class.
Marquez may not have to wait long to finalise a 2021 MotoGP deal as the rider market appears to be moving very quickly with certain deals potentially being completed by the end of this season and most to be completed in the early part of 2020. This could be very useful for the Spaniard as he can use his strong 2019 season to get himself into MotoGP in 2021, which in turn would ease the pressure off the majority of his 2020 campaign.