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Marc and Alex Marquez: World champion brothers on life in lockdown

The two brothers were ready to begin a new, intimate chapter in their sibling rivalry when MotoGP opened in Qatar in March, when the first-class race was abruptly canceled, leaving the pair in a state of unique limbo.

Fortunately for the Marquez brothers and their parents, the life of competitors under one roof is nothing new.

“I promise,” Marc told CNN Sport via videoconference from his family home, “even when we were kids, we played for everything: who goes to bed earlier, who left home earlier; I mean , everything was a competition. “

The pair dueled on PlayStation in virtual MotoGP races as part of the sport’s attempt to keep fans busy in the absence of an actual race. The elder Marquez is forced to admit that his younger brother has the upper hand.

“On the PlayStation, it beats me all the time,” he said with a laugh. “I mean, always: in a football match, in a MotoGP match, in a Formula 1 match, I mean, he always beats me.

“But it’s something, you know, he’s younger, he has more time to play. I’m a little busier!

“I train now, I promise you that I train a lot because we have the next race; but I’m half a second slower than him … I push the accelerator more and everything on the accelerator But it is not work! “

Marc Marquez (L) and his brother Alex Marquez (R) during the official presentation of the Repsol Honda team for the 2020 season in Jakarta on February 4, 2020.

Domestic life was not without setbacks for Marc either. In fact, he revealed that he had a new injury after one of his mother’s cooking lessons.

“My mother tried to teach me something because,” she says, “you are 27 years old. I mean, sooner or later you will live alone, “he said.

“I tried to cook a little pizza with my hands. But the experience was not the best.

“Look, look at this,” said the world champion, pointing to two dark red lines on his forearm. “I mean, I burned my arm. So it wasn’t, the experience was not so good!”

Marc and Alex Marquez united in MotoGP for next season

Injuries had threatened to undermine the start of the MotoGP champion title for the 2020 season. A terrifying training crash before Thailand’s MotoGP last year had seriously aggravated an existing shoulder problem, and Marquez suffered winter surgery to alleviate the problem.

More than 200 hours of rehabilitation later, he was still not quite ready as the teams prepared to travel to Qatar.

Marquez admitted that part of him welcomed the postponement of the opening of the season, but said he had no idea what was going to happen.

“When I saw this for the first time, I thought it was going for me, that’s good news,” he said. “[But then] I realized after two or three weeks that the coronavirus was such a big problem for the world. “

He would give up, he said, a full recovery if it meant that life could return to normal. “No wifi [could] Come back, I would like to start the season, even if I was not a hundred percent. “

Marc (R) and Alex Marquez participate in the Sepang 2020 test.

The Honda driver said he knew immediately that the accident in Thailand was serious. Analysis later revealed that it had touched down at 26 times the force of gravity.

“I realized it was a big problem because basically it was impossible to breathe for 15 seconds,” he said. “And that was the most dangerous thing. And then I couldn’t remember exactly what was going on. So for this reason, the doctor took me away, and we had a thorough analysis at the hospital.”

A few hours later, however, Marquez was back on the bike for the next practice session. Such things are a way of life for MotoGP riders, but the Catalan says that these are problems that just need to be managed.

“[People often ask] you train or how to train in the event of a crash? It’s impossible, “he said.

“We are just trying to prepare our body. For example, now that we are at home, we are stretching, we are stretching a lot. Because it is something important, to work the muscles. And then you have to realize that you are a professional cyclist, and you have to take the risk. “

Marc Marquez and his brother Alex celebrate their respective MotoGP and Moto2 titles at Cervera on November 9, 2019.

One risk he was not prepared to take was to let his younger brother cut his hair. He had given Alex a quarantine haircut on Instagram, but said Alex was uncomfortable with clippers. “He is not convinced,” he said with a laugh. “He says, ‘I don’t know how’ … and I say ‘Okay, I will.'”

While the plans for the 2020 season are drawn and redesigned, the Marquez brothers keep fit at home. A static bike is the centerpiece of a home gym in the basement, which also houses a collection of dozens of racing helmets and leathers – memories of the brothers’ already extraordinary careers – carefully housed by their father.

The Marquez brothers in Repsol Honda leathers during the 2020 team press launch

Something else is also pending. Their mother, Roser, told CNN in 2014 that she feared when her sons would compete. “I don’t want to imagine that, no!” she said.

Has that changed more than five years later?

“At first, she was afraid that we would ride with the same team,” said Marc. “But now she’s happy, because last year she was nervous [about] two races, in Moto2 and MotoGP … we talk a lot these days, and she says, “I want to know, what is the feeling when Marc and Alex are racing at the same time.” “

MotoGP fans around the world are also yearning for this moment.

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