Honda boss surprised by Alex Marquez progress

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Honda boss Shuhei Nakamoto has admitted he did not envisage the level of progress made by new Moto3 world champion Alex Marquez during the 2014 campaign.

The younger brother of dominant MotoGP world champion wrapped up the Moto3 crown in dramatic fashion when a third place in the final round in Valencia gave the teenager the title by just two-points over Aussie rival Jack Miller.

Marquez had finished fourth overall in his first full world championship campaign in 2013 with one win and four podiums.

But he won three races and claimed seven other podiums last season to win Honda’s first Moto3 title. And Nakamoto told MCN: “Alex has grown a lot in the last two years and every single race he has been improving his performance and I am very happy with him.

"Marc probably has more natural talent but Alex is a hard worker. But hard work can win you the championship. Of course Marc also trains very hard but he has a lot of natural talent.

"To be honest I am surprised that Alex has achieved this level. I didn’t expect that Alex could arrive at this level and I am very happy for him.”

Marquez has moved to Moto2 for 2015 and he will ride for the all-conquering Marc VDS Racing squad, which dominated last year's intermediate class with Tito Rabat and Mika Kallio.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt