Alex Marquez has signed a two-year deal to join the Marc VDS Racing squad in the Moto2 world championship.
The Spaniard, who is the younger brother of dominant MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez, will step up from Moto3 next season to partner compatriot Tito Rabat on a Kalex machine.
Marquez missed out on a third Moto3 win of the season at Silverstone yesterday by just 0.011s, but his second place behind Honda teammate Alex Rins moved him to within 13-points of series leader Jack Miller.
Ironically, it was Aussie Miller who was originally intended for the Marc VDS seat taken by Marquez, which comes at the expense of experienced Finn Mika Kallio.
Marc VDS thought it had an agreement in place with Miller for 2015 and 2016 having signed a pre-contract with the 19-year-old a year ago.
But Miller and his manager Aki Ajo denied the arrangement was binding and the current Red Bull KTM Moto3 is making the huge leap to MotoGP next season to partner Cal Crutchlow at LCR Honda.
Confirmation of the Marquez deal came this morning and in a Marc VDS statement he said: “I am so proud and excited to announce I am joining Marc VDS Racing Team in Moto2 for the next two years. It is very important for me because I am changing class with a fantastic team and a strong teammate. I have been working hard to be here and I want to thank the Marc VDS Racing Team for their trust in me. But now it’s time to focus on Moto3, we are in the most important moment of the season and our mission is to fight for the championship.”
It has been a bad 24 hours for Kallio though. He led yesterday’s British GP for long periods before losing out in a terrific last lap tussle with Rabat.
Defeat by just 0.063s dropped him 17-points behind Rabat in the title hunt but Marc VDS Racing boss Bartholemy said the capture of Marquez was in keeping with the team’s philosophy of developing young talent for the future.
Bartholemy, who is trying to secure funding to lease a factory Honda RC213V for Scott Redding in MotoGP next season, said: “It has always been our goal to bring young riders into Moto2, and Álex Márquez is the perfect fit for us. He has shown he has both the talent and the drive to succeed with some impressive performances over the past two years, which are the attributes we want as we look towards the future. Having Tito Rabat alongside him and an experienced team behind him will help with Álex’s transition from Moto3 to Moto2 next year. I am confident that in 2016 he will be ready to step up and spearhead our World Championship campaign.”
Kallio has been talking to Aprilia about a MotoGP ride in 2015 while his form this season, which has seen him take three wins and five podiums, will see big interest in his signature for Moto2.
One team known to have expressed big interest is the QMMF squad, which will ditch the Speed Up frame and switch to Kalex.