World champion Márquez shares his thoughts for 2015 with motor cycle giant Giacomo Agostini in a special Laureus ‘Legend to Legend’ debate
‘It will be tougher, I feel great physically, but Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Rossi are prepared as well’ – says double champion Márquez
Agostini tells Márquez: ‘You are the man to beat… let’s wait and see!’
Double MotoGP world champion Marc Márquez believes the 2015 World Championship will be his greatest challenge yet, and admits he will not repeat his feat of 2014 by starting the season with a record ten wins in a row.
In a remarkable ‘Legend to Legend’ conversation on Laureus.com with 15-time world champion and Laureus World Sports Academy Member Giacomo Agostini, Márquez says: “It will be tougher. It won’t be like last year when I won the first ten races. This year I feel great, physically, with the motor bike. But Jorge [Lorenzo] is prepared, Valentino [Rossi] and Dani [Pedrosa] as well.”
During the fascinating conversation ahead of the start of the 2015 MotoGP in Qatar on Sunday, Márquez revealed his hopes for the year ahead and his long-term goals. He and Agostini also discussed how the sport has changed since the 1960’s and 70’s.
Agostini, who won an incredible 123 Grand Prix during his 13-year career, told Márquez: “Well, you are the man to beat. You are the world champion, so let’s wait and see. In a few weeks we will be all in front of the screen!”
When questioned on his goals for his career, Márquez said: “Of course the titles are the most important to be remembered. But I would like people to remember me for the show I gave them on the track, the fact that I always gave 100%, my overtakes and my aggressive approach to driving.”
15-time champion Agostini asked Márquez: “Just think, one day people may call you ‘Marc the 16’.” Márquez laughed and replied: “I don’t think so…but it would be great!”
The 22-year-old Spaniard also revealed to Agostini that despite being the No.1 motor cycle rider on the planet, he surprisingly does not own a driving license. “I really don’t have it,” he laughed. “If I have to make a shoot on my motor cycle in the street, they have to close it down so I can ride it! I’ve got my own private road.” Agostini joked in response: “Well, then you can’t race!”
During the relaxed conversation, Agostini reflected upon how the sport has changed since he was winning championships in the 1960’s and 1970’s. “In my time, the atmosphere during the races was not like today. It wasn’t so professional and there was not so much electronics on the bikes. It was very popular but there wasn’t the TV like there is today.”
Márquez responded: “I’ve seen when you used to race you were a couple of inches from the wall. Today if I see a wall 100 metres away I think it’s very close!”
The two motor cycle legends also discussed the issue of fatal accidents on the track, with Agostini recalling: “Yes it happened more often, and yes it was very hard but you think ‘that won’t happen to me’. OK you cry when it happens, you mourn your friend, but in the end you say to yourself that it won’t happen to you. That gives you strength.”
Márquez remembered the loss of former colleague Marco Simoncelli, who died after an accident at the Malaysian MotoGP in Sepang. “Recently what happened to Simoncelli, it was tough,” he said.
Also nominated with Márquez for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award are UK pair Lewis Hamilton and Rory McIlroy, tennis world No.1 Novak Djokovic, Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and Renaud Lavillenie, the French pole vaulter who broke Sergey Bubka’s 21-year-old world record. The winners of the Laureus World Sports Awards will be announced in Shanghai on April 15.
Márquez said: “It’s nice [to be nominated] because all the sports journalists around the world vote for you and then the winner is chosen by the legends of sport. It’s already a victory for me, seeing my name on the list with Ronaldo, Djokovic, Hamilton…too many!”