Speaking for the first time since he announced his controversial decision to move to Andorra in a press conference at Superprestigio in Barcelona, MotoGP champion Marc Marquez says the decision has not been made for financial reasons.
He announced last week that he will move to the Principality on the Spanish-French border, where he'll join a number of fellow riders including Bradley Smith, Broc Parkes and Leon Camier. Famous as a tax haven, he was quick to deny that finances were his motivation.
“Well I’m 21 now and I’ve always been living with my parents, so like many young people I’ve decided to create my own space and my own home. I’ve picked Andorra because I’ve been there many winters and many times during the year. I will continue to be there many winters and much of the time because for physical training it’s an ideal place. Who knows what will happen in the future. I pay my taxes in Spain and will still do so next year.”
Marquez has drawn vehement criticism for the decision in his native Spain, with many seeing the move as an attempt to dodge taxes. With huge austerity cuts and massive unemployment in Spain, the move has led to a massive backlash on the much-loved 21 year old.
“There has been a lot of opinion about this and everyone is entitled to their view, but I think some of the criticism of me has been harsh. As a sportsman you never know how long your career will last. When I was 19 I was almost at the point of leaving motorcycle racing as I had a problem with my vision. Thanks to the doctors I was able to come back to riding. Over the last week I have not felt good so I want to thank everyone who supports me and my family. The only thing I want to do is keep enjoying myself and keep riding my bike.”