Marc Marquez is to stay in Moto2 for another year. After all of the recent speculation, the 18-year-old Spaniard told the media at Sepang on Thursday that he had decided against switching to the MotoGP class after reviewing the options on offer to him. He will race for the Repsol-backed Catalunya Caixa Moto2 squad run by his mentor Emilio Alzamora aboard a Suter for 2012.
Marquez admitted that he had been surprised at the speed of his own progress. "This is my first year in Moto2, and my level is much better than i expected at the beginning of the season," he told the MotoGP.com website, and that had caused him and his manager Alzamora to explore the options available to him. In the end, though, he felt it was better to remain in Moto2 for another year, to gain more experience before stepping up to the premier class. "At the end of the season, it was time to check all the possibilities, and I think the best one is to stay one more year in Moto2, because every race I learn something new," Marquez told MotoGP.com. "It was a difficult decision, but I think we took the right one."
Two possible scenarios were possible for Marquez' ascent to MotoGP, and discussions about the two had been going on since Misano. One possibility was to take the remaining vacant seat at the LCR Honda team, while the other was that the Monlau Competicion organization which runs the Catalunya Caixa team would move up as an independent entity and be run as a separate and new team. In both cases, Marquez would have had a factory Honda RC213V and full factory support for the bike - the so-called Rookie Rule merely prevents newcomers from entering factory teams, not being supplied with factory equipment - though Alzamora's preference was believed to have been for Marquez to be in his own team. The funding for both options had been available, though with the precarious situation that the Catalunya Caixa bank finds itself in - it has just been nationalized by the Spanish Central Bank pending restructuring - meant that extra funding from the bank became impossible.
The bigger problem for Marquez was Repsol, however. As explained in detail by Spanish website Motocuatro, Repsol stood to lose a lot of marketing exposure if Marquez moved up to MotoGP. Marquez was on screen in one form or another some 80% of the time during the Moto2 broadcasts, and with Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa monopolizing the MotoGP broadcasts, the Spanish petroleum giant was getting wall-to-wall coverage of its brand in Spain. Having Marquez in MotoGP would add very little exposure in the premier class, while losing a huge amount of coverage in Moto2. With Marquez staying in Moto2, Repsol have the added benefit of seeing the #1 plate on its bikes in both the MotoGP and Moto2 classes, with Stoner having wrapped up the MotoGP title at Australia and Marquez still the favorite for the Moto2 crown, despite the fact that the Spaniard still trails championship leader Stefan Bradl by 3 points.
Though Marquez will remain in Moto2 for 2012, he is widely expected to make the step up in 2013.