For the past 24 hours, the internet has been blowing up over multiple reports that HRC is about to drop Alex Marquez from its factory MotoGP team, and replace him with Pol Espargaro in the Repsol Honda squad.
In truth, Puig’s statement only throws more fuel on the fire, as the Spanish team manager does not deny that the younger Marquez brother could be on the way out of the Repsol Honda team.
Instead, Puig only insists that only Marc Marquez has a contract for the 2021 season, which means that Alex Marquez is not a guarantee for the 2021 season. This is a classic “non-denial” denial.
The rumor itself is an interesting one, especially considering that it finds Alex Marquez booted out of Repsol Honda before he has even raced for the team. And from this, presumably Alex Marquez would find himself demoted to the LCR Honda squad for next season.
This would seem to be an unfair fate for Alex Marquez, though he did underwhelm on the Honda RC213V during the post-season Valencia test, which led to calls of nepotism at the Repsol Honda squad.
This creates an interesting situation at HRC, as it is an open secret that Marc Marquez wields a tremendous amount of power over the Japanese team, primarily because he is the only rider who has been able to tame the RC213V (his long train of world titles helps too).
This power is what many believe led to Alex Marquez jumping up to the factory squad on his rookie debut, rather than earning the seat through a satellite spot first.
As for Pol Espargaro, there has been many in the MotoGP paddock that have pointed to the KTM rider as having the proper riding style for the Honda RC213V – including Alberto Puig himself.
While Marc Marquez has a four-year contract with Repsol Honda, the arrival of Pol Espargaro at Alex Marquez’s expense could cause a sizable rift in the Repsol Honda garage.
At the worst, this could be the first brick in the wall that sees Marc Marquez and Repsol Honda splitting ways, and at the very least, this news could create some uneasy tensions in the team, if proven true.
That leads us to the last part, as this development is still very much a rumor. Though it is being extensively thrown around in the motorsports news arena, the news itself is quite hard to believe without a larger context.
It is quite the seismic movement on the MotoGP landscape if true. As such, stay tuned.