Marquez on Alex, return, 2020 MotoGP season; Neveu to leave WEC CEO post
The Spaniard has multiple topics to cover as WEC to have a new CEO post 2020.
Marc Marquez has opened up about his brother Alex, 2020 MotoGP season, his return and more, as Gerard Neveu is to leave his WEC and ELMS role.
With Honda's Marquez sidelined due to injury and surgery, the 2020 MotoGP has blown open with only four points separating the Top 4 riders in the riders' standings, after halfway into the year with seven more races to go.
Marquez is glued to his TV sets, saddened that he cannot defend his title, as he feels that anyone can take it at this stage. He initially put Fabio Quartararo and Andrea Dovizioso as the key riders but feel Joan Mir and Maverick Vinales are not in a shoddy position too.
On his own brother Alex, Marquez feels that the Moto2 champion is slowly learning his way and that the year will only help him. He revealed that they discuss things during race weekends but it is not huge as he leaves him and his team to sort it out.
Regarding the injury and training, Marquez is slowly getting back up to speed, but it won't be soon that he can ride a bike actually. He is certainly aiming to compete in the finale of 2020 MotoGP season at Algarve, but won't rush into it.
On his training, feelings -
Marquez: "About the physical side, now I am in a good moment. But of course, I am still far from my normal level. It’s true that last week, I started to do some running and cycling. From the cardio side, the legs and the left arm, my condition is quite good. But about the right arm, still I need to make some big steps but now we are starting to do more exercises. I am looking forward to starting to push a little bit more in the gym.
"But at the moment we must respect the timings and just be patient. From the mental side it was hard in the beginning. Because you know, there was nothing to do at home, the days and even the hours were very, very long but now we have a plan a for each day. We do two sessions of physio and then we also train in the gym with my trainer, the left arm, the legs, along with some cardio.
"So now the mental side is feeling much better, the moment where I suffer the most is during the race weekend because you are watching the race, all the practice sessions from the TV and it is not easy. Aside from this, we can say that I’m happy now. I’m happy because I already feel that we have made some steps forward.
"We have had some different kinds of protections. In the beginning I had a lot of protection, from the hand to the top of the arm and it was like completely rigid. Then step by step we used this carbon protection that you saw on social media that was from the elbow to the shoulder. And now, in normal life I am not using anything expect for training, especially when I am cycling, still I am using that carbon protection because it fixes the bone and the arm in place a little bit better.
"Now I am starting to forget about the protections, and I hope that next week we are already able to remove the protection from all the things we do. I have started cycling and running and I expected it to be much worse because for like four, five weeks I was completely just on the sofa watching TV. But I started running and immediately from the first day I felt good and I started to see improvements, with cycling too.
"The most difficult thing is the muscle on the right arm but even this is better than I expected. The muscle is still there, it’s working well. The most important thing is that all the movements are ok and now step by step with my physio Carlos, he is living with me in my house, we will start to work hard to improve, following the correct steps in the correct time."
Situation with Alex, helping him -
Marquez: "Alex is in the process, one important thing for rookie riders is when they have two races in a row in the same circuit. This helps a lot, the most difficult thing in MotoGP is arriving at a circuit with a MotoGP bike and trying to adjust everything. Alex will arrive in Montmelo at the Catalunya Circuit and he will start the process again. But let’s see if he did a step. To do a step is just to be racing from P8 to P12, this is the first step that he needed to do and then from there it is about trying to learn, see where you can improve and then make another step.
"It’s difficult for a rookie, but also for everybody. The times are really close, I mean in one second there are 17 riders, 18 riders and this is something amazing because I think the level in MotoGP is really equal now and this is good for the riders because in the end, the final improvement comes from them. It’s a difficult season for everybody but especially for a rookie it’s difficult because you have many races in a row.
"It’s strange because when you race one time you go home then the body can understand how to improve, but now everything is happening really fast – too fast for a rookie rider. And we don’t have tests, they had a one-day test in Misano and normally during a season we have four or five days test that help a lot. I try to help Alex and on Thursday when they have the tyre allocation, he sends me the photo and I try to give some advice, maybe this tyre can be the option because last year and all these things.
"But then we have like a rule, he needs to work with his team, we have to be professional and he is working with his team. If he has a doubt about riding style or something like this, he calls me, but I never call him. He needs to call me because he is in the circuit working with his team and he has Alberto there, who also has a lot of experience, and Emilio. But of course, every day we have two, sometimes three phone calls."
Crazy season, who has the chance -
Marquez: "It’s strange, it’s strange because it looks like nobody wants to win! Nobody wants to be at the top, I mean is difficult to understand but if you are a rider you can understand it a little bit. One thing is to be a rider that if you win, it will be fantastic and if you win it will be something incredible but when you are the rider that needs to win then something changes and you have many more doubts because you don’t know if you should attack, if you should defend.
"You know when you are the rider that is coming from second place, third place, fourth place and you have something in front of you, you have nothing to lose, you just attack and then you ride with more confidence because you don’t have anything to lose but when you are at the top and you have to win, this is when the doubts start to be in your mind, in your body and it becomes more difficult. It’s difficult to say, but it’s true that in Austria I said Quartararo or Dovizioso but, honestly speaking, I expected more from them.
"Especially from Quartararo, I expect much more because he won the first two races with an incredible level and now, I don’t know what is going on. He struggles a lot, even in one of his strongest points: Qualifying practice. But then Dovizioso is consistent, he is there but he needs more speed if he wants to win the title and we see that Vinales is there, Mir is there, I mean we have eight, nine riders within 25 points so it will be interesting to see the end of the season. And yeah, we will try to experience the show from the inside!"
Talk about 'bike only made for Marquez' -
Marquez: "I mean of course a MotoGP bike is a MotoGP bike. I mean every MotoGP bike has a different character and then the riders must adapt to the bike. Honda has this philosophy for many many years in the 500cc and MotoGP classes. For example, when I speak with Doohan, with Criville, the philosophy was the same. Honda have a good bike, but you need to be 100% fit, you need to push the bike a lot but then when you get the feeling with the bike, you can be really fast. Then when I read ‘no the bike is made only for Marquez style and blah blah’, it’s not like this.
"I mean we have three official bikes on track, last year it was me, Lorenzo and Crutchlow and all the riders have the same comments. It’s another thing if one rider is faster or slower. But I am the first one that wants a faster bike and an easier one, it will be easier for me as well. But is not like this, it’s a competitive bike and in the last race for example they finished P6 with Nakagami and P7 with a rookie rider, Alex. So, it is a good bike, it has potential but if you want to understand the bike, you have to crash many times, but you will understand it."
Possible return in Portugal -
Marquez: "Portimao will be interesting to finish the season. I hope to be there, I hope to race there with MotoGP because I tested there with a Moto2 bike in 2012 – a long time ago but I remember the circuit and it was very nice. Many ups and downs, following the natural layout of the land, it was really nice, and it was very fun to race there. I hope I will be able try to be there and to finish the season in a good way."
The time for Honda is also hardened not only with Marquez missing but also Cal Crutchlow having wrist surgery too. In fact, the Brit is to return this weekend but LCR Honda noted a freak incident at Barcelona, where he twisted his ankle.
"As planned, today LCR Honda CASTROL rider Cal Crutchlow arrived in BCN and went to see Dr. Xavier Mir for a final check on his right forearm, previous to the GRAN PREMI MONSTER ENERGY DE CATALUNYA," said the statement. "The scar appears to be healing and is in much better condition than last week.
"Unfortunately, upon his arrival to Circuit de Catalunya, Cal slipped as he stepped out of the PCR Testing Booth, rupturing his left ankle’s ligaments as confirmed by Dr. Max Ibañez, member of Dr. Mir’s team. Nevertheless, despite this misfortune, he and the team will try their best to regularly start the Catalan GP on Friday."
Moving on to WEC, longtime CEO Neveu has decided to step down after December 2020 from his role in ELMS as well, as the endurance series looks towards a new future where they combine forces with IMSA and bring about a common ground.
"After nine years at the head of this superb motorsport programme, I think it is time for me to hand over the baton and allow new life to be breathed into the organisation under the leadership of Pierre Fillon," said Neveu. "Great pages in endurance racing’s history books will open in a few months, in particular with the arrival of LMH and LMDh, and I have no doubt about the successes to come for these championships under the ACO umbrella.
"Until then, I will do my best to finish the 2020 season in the best way possible. Then it will be time for me to set off on a different personal path in 2021. The mission entrusted to me by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest has been intense and exciting and it has been with great pride that I have led these championships under the aegis of the ACO and the FIA.
"For their trust, I would like to thank all the WEC and ELMS competitors, the partners, the suppliers, the media who have followed us, local promoters and all the circuits that have welcomed us around the world. My very special thoughts are for the wonderful LMEM team that I have had the privilege and immense pleasure of leading during this entire period. It will remain a superb human adventure and a unique experience that cannot be erased."
At the same time, Pierre Fillon, added: "In a team, in order to achieve success, every man or woman within this entity plays an essential role. In creating and, above all, developing our FIA World Endurance Championship, Gérard Neveu was one of the fundamental building blocks for two reasons. He was not only part of the foundation of this championship from the very beginning, but he was also the originator of this FIA World Endurance Championship organisation.
"Alongside the team from the ACO, they make this championship happen for all our competitors. The ACO and WEC has progressed together, and we have fought many battles to establish our championship within the world of motor racing. The victories have therefore been greater and above all more significant and more fruitful. Creating such a world championship is not an easy task, and making it shine in the world even less so.
"For all these professional and human adventures we have experienced together, I sincerely thank Gérard. I particularly salute his commitment, his involvement and his extraordinary energy. From here on I wish him the best in his future professional activities. From a personal point of view he will remain a member of our endurance family and, whatever his activities are, there is little doubt that future joint collaborations will emerge."
[Image courtesy: FormulaRapida.net, Red Bull Content Pool] [Note: The story was also written on FormulaRapida.net]