Marc Márquez Talks Air Race With Velarde

MotoGP Champion and Juan Velarde on their sports’ similarities

At the recent MotoGP race in Jerez, MotoGP Repsol Honda rider Marc Márquez caught up with Juan Velarde and talked about all things racing. 

Spaniards Márquez and Velarde both wear the Repsol colours, and share a love of high adrenaline racing. Márquez – a five-time MotoGP World Champion with titles in the 125CC and Moto2 classes – took the race win in his home race at the Circuito de Jerez. Velarde, who raced motorbikes in his younger days, was not only there to witness the racing action, but also performed a display for the thousands of fans that were there to cheer on Márquez.

Velarde over the Jerez circuit

“I think it’s the perfect combination: a Red Bull Air Race plane in the Red Bull Grand Prix of MotoGP. Also I was very lucky and I was invited to the Repsol box,” said the pilot, who makes his home in Madrid.

Watching training sessions from the pit lane, Velarde saw many similarities between the professional environments of the Repsol box and his Red Bull Air Race hangar. He commented, “MotoGP is absolutely a team competition, and you can see how good the coordination is among all team members. I was aware of how focused the riders are, and everybody is working in a very smooth silence.”

The action on the track also resonated with the pilot. “It’s very impressive to see the motorcycles from quite close to the track, at speeds around, I think, 320 kilometres per hour, and how late they break, how aggressive they are,” he explained. “But in the end, at the same time they have to be smooth. That’s just the way we try to fly – you must manage how aggressive you are, and you have to be smooth to be quick. We’re managing almost the same speeds, and in the end we’re basing our runs on speed, precision and skill in both sports.”


Márquez also pointed out that there are similarities in their chosen sports. "Regarding the decision time, it's crucial to have good reflexes. You can train to improve your reflexes, but it is also very important, despite the speed, to think about the bike – to analyse at every moment how the race is going. This allows you to anticipate a specific situation that can happen when you are competing,” he explained. 
The machines used in both MotoGP and the Air Race are at the forefront of technology. But there's one piece of raceplane kit that Márquez would like to add to his Honda. “Just for curiosity at certain times, it would be great to have a G-Force meter, even when training off-road. And about a technology that could fit from the motorcycle into the plane perhaps the mappings can work well and be useful to Juan, but I don't know what he would prefer,” concluded Márquez.

The defending World Champion went on to take the Red Bull Spanish GP win by more than 1.6s, and currently leads the MotoGP championship by one point after four races.

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