When it’s time to eat at the Marquez home, Marc dresses the table, one of his duties in the family routine, while Alex clears the table. The Marquezes are “ordinary” people and, at home, life goes on as it used to be. Father Julià Marquez and mother Roser Alentà still live in the same small house in Cervera (a village of 10,000 near Catalunya), where their sons share the same room and sleep in bunk beds that they make themselves.
“At home, we are still the father and mother,” Julià said. “When your son wins, the feeling is always the same—the first time, as well as the second one. This is my fifth world title!”
The Marquez family are rewriting the motorcycle history. What Marc and Alex achieved at the final round of the 2014 MotoGP season at Valencia is unique. In 66 years of Grand Prix motorcycle racing, two brothers have never clinched world titles in the same year. On Thursday, Marc arrived at Valencia as a four-time world champion, while Alex, the younger brother, was ready to fight for his first GP title.
“I’m really happy for Alex,” Roser said after the race. “He has often been considered from the outside as the ‘brother of.’ Today he showed what he is capable of, and he said it to the world.”
Roser doesn’t like the spotlight. You used to see her behind the garage while her sons were on track. Now she follows the action mainly from home, but last Sunday, she was on the front line, celebrating the world championship successes of her 21- and 18-year-old boys.
“I have always told them to enjoy racing,” Roser said. “I have never pushed or stopped them. Racing has always been synonymous with having fun, and then, at home, we were and remain a normal family. Fear? No, but when they crash, I tell them to raise their hands so that from home I can understand they are well.”
The Marquez brothers travel and train together, but each is unique. “Marc is fast in switching his mind and focusing on his targets,” Julià said. “He is a fighter and when he dares, he knows he can make it.” In contrast, Alex is a hard worker. “Marc was the smart one since he was a kid,” Roser said, “while Alex has always been more calm.”
The two brothers have always played the roles of older and younger brother. Becoming world champions was a dream since they were kids. “For sure,” Alex said, “when we were playing together as kids with small bikes, in some moments, we could have said something similar, but not even in the best possible dream we could have thought of winning a title in the same year.”
The Marquez brothers were raised around motorcycles. Julià was member of a local club, the Moto Club Segre, famous for organizing important enduros. He was a marshal, and Roser helped in the club, preparing sandwiches. Marc remembers competing with his father in an enduro. His father was leading on a full-size bike with “baby Marc” following on his small bike with tiny wheels.
“Marc was so small,” Roser said, “that we had to make fruit shakes to help him grow.”
When he was five years old, Alex dreamed of becoming Marc’s mechanic, but one test of his older brother’s first motorcycle, a Yamaha PW50, changed his mind. Marc started off-road, while Alex went directly to roadracing. Despite being called “el petit,” the small guy of his family, Alex was tall.
When Marc made his debut in the 125cc class in the world championship in 2008, Alex finished third in the Catalunya championship. When Marc became 125cc world champion in 2010, he made his debut in the CEV Spanish championship. In 2011, Alex lost the title in the last race against Alex Rins, his closest rival; they both crashed and Rins won. Alex clinched the title the following year, while Marc claimed the 2012 Moto2 title.
Emilio Alzamora, a former 125cc world champion who manages both riders, didn’t waste any time and found Alex a Moto3 wildcard seat at Indianapolis in 2012. For the 2013 season, Alex stepped up full-time with the Monlau Competition-run Estrella Galicia 0,0 team. Finally for Julià, the moment had arrived: both sons in the MotoGP paddock and traveling together as a family, just as they used to do when Marc and Alex were kids and when going to races was like a vacation, at least for the kids.
Since the two Marquez brothers have become professional riders, they share almost everything. They train together at Cervera and Rufea, they go to the gym together, they challenge each other to football, they share vacations, like this year in Tarifa. But when it’s time to race, each one does his own thing and has his own riding style.
“Marc has always given me suggestions,” Alex said. “He’s taught me a lot of things. The last week before the Valencia GP, his support was crucial, even if sometimes I had to stop him as I wanted to go to bed and all the suggestions were making me nervous. We had shared all the joys, but on track, I want to do it my own way, one step at the time.”