Visually, Alex Marquez looks smoother on a MotoGP bike than older brother, former team-mate and six-time world champion Marc.
But Alex says the difference between them is not as big as it appears and largely down to being 10cm taller than his brother.
“From watching on the TV, it looks like we are so different about riding style and moving the bike; me being more smooth, he is more aggressive,” Alex confirmed.
“But then when we compare on the data it looks similar. Not 100% the same, but maybe it’s because I’m a little bit taller and this affects moving the bike less.”
Alex had been due to spend his rookie season alongside Marc at Repsol Honda, but the #93 broke his arm during their first premier-class grand prix together and missed the remainder of the world championship.
With Marc cheering from the sofa at home in Spain, Alex eventually rode to back-to-back podiums in the wet at Le Mans then dry at Aragon. They would be the only Honda rostrums this season.
“Before this season I said before maybe a podium in the wet, like it was in Le Mans, but I didn’t expect to be as fast as I was in Aragon to fight for the victory until the last lap,” Alex said.
“It was not easy starting as a rookie after the lockdown, but we took profit from the opportunity to do a lot of races back-to-back to make a big improvement. But especially the test in Misano was really positive. It was only one day but it was like fresh air to try things and make laps with the bike.
“It was a combination of things,” Marquez added of the September test. “Knowing more secrets from the bike, confidence because you can adapt your style a little bit better during the test and also we started to try some things with the set-up, especially in the front part to turn better, in less metres.
“That was a big improvement. That change made the front more critical, but when you have the confidence you can be really fast. One step more. It’s what I did at the Misano test. It was good to make that click because until that point we were a little bit out of the expectations.
“Both podiums were really positive for all the team, they needed it after a hard year, especially Marc’s side of the team. I’m happy for the guys, who did an amazing job and helped me a lot and now I’m looking forward to the new chapter going to LCR family.
“The most important thing now is to start the pre-season with the same step that we made by the end of this year.”
Podiums or not, Alex had lost his 2021 Repsol ride to Pol Espargaro before a racing lap had been completed this season but insists he “understands” Honda’s decision.
“Now in MotoGP the we sign the contracts so early in the season and with all the lockdown, the problems with Covid-19 it was a little bit difficult. So they took that decision, I understand from the first moment it was the normal one.
“My contract doesn’t change, it’s the same one like I had in the factory team. So I know this [move] is not a back-pass it is like a sideways move to take more experience. So really happy and really looking forward to join LCR.
“I will have the technician Beefy who has a lot of experience and everybody at Honda speaks so highly of him. Also for data I’ve got David Garcia coming, who was my technician in Moto2. So already I know him really, really good and he can help also Beefy know me a little bit earlier.
“I know all the people, I meet them in Portimao but already from the past I know everybody. I was yesterday with one mechanic that lives ten minutes from my home. I’m looking forward to being in a team that maybe everything is a little bit more calm and the pressure is also more calm.”
“For me with the 2021 bike I think it will be important to understand how to take more profit from the extra power we had from ’19-’20 that in some tracks we were not able to use,” Marquez said of how he hopes the bike will evolve over the winter.
“We were losing a bit in acceleration. It will be important to put all the power to the rear tyre. This will be the main thing. Apart from that I’m quite happy. I’m still trying to manage, adapt 100% to the bike. It will be interesting to see the 2021 bike, because of the [engine freeze] rules we cannot change a lot, but some things.”
The Covid calendar means that Marquez starts his second season without any MotoGP experience on around half of the circuits, one of the reasons why he is keeping modest expectations.
“For me playing for the championship, honestly I’m not ready,” he said of 2021. “I don’t have enough experience at all the tracks. I’m not in the level and expectation to fight for the championship.
“It will be difficult to replay races like Aragon but my target is to be more solid and regular in the top 8-10 and try to make some top 5. Keep improving and keep gaining experience.
“The preparation for next year will be the same, motocross, flat track, working hard at home to be 100 % physically for the first test to make a lot of laps and get a lot of information because we will not have a lot of pre-season days, only six. Every day is important.”
Marquez eventually finished 14th overall in this year’s world championship, with future team-mate Nakagami tenth and top Honda on the 2019 bike.