Was it really eight years ago? Just when we thought it was all over and forgotten, one of the fiercest ever MotoGP™ feuds has returned to the racetrack. Following in the footsteps of their illustrious older brothers Alex Marquez and Luca Marini are at it once again as they fight for family honour. Their immediate goal to become the first ever brothers to win a premier class Grand Prix and ultimately the highest accolade of them all, the MotoGP™ World Championship.
While brothers have shared the premier class podium, won World Championships and Grands Prix in separate classes, we still wait after 74 years but not for much longer. Already this season Alex, younger brother of eight times World Champion Marc Marquez, and Luca, half-brother to nine times World Champion Valentino Rossi, have sampled life on the MotoGP™ podium.
Alex, who grabbed two MotoGP™ podium finishes three years ago, fought through the Argentine rain to finish third on the Gresini Racing Ducati. Last week Luca grabbed his first MotoGP™ podium with a brilliant second place at COTA riding their Mooney VR46 Ducati. Both are Grands Prix winners in the smaller classes and Alex is a Moto3™ and Moto2™ World Champion.
Only on two occasions have brothers finished together on the same premier class podium. In 1962 Juan and Eduardo Salatino entered their home Grand Prix at Buenos Aires in Argentina on their Nortons. They finished second and third respectively behind another home rider Benedicto Caldarella riding a Matchless. Thirty-five years later at the City of Imola Grand Prix in Italy the Aoki family followed suite. Behind World Champion Mick Doohan, Nobuatsu was second and Takuma third. What a racing family with Haruchika finishing fifth in the 500cc race at Mugello in 2001 after winning two 125cc World titles.
Injuries permitting, two sets of brothers could easily return to the MotoGP™ podium together this season, Aleix and Pol Espargaro and Alex and Marc Marquez hopefully will get the chance soon. Last year South African brothers Brad and Darryn Binder who are both Grand Prix winners competed in the premier class.
There are plenty of brothers we remember competing in the premier class. Christian and Dominique Sarron, Nicky and Roger-Lee Hayden, Carlos and David Checa, Mick and Scott Doohan, Kenny and Kurtis Roberts, Bernard and Marc Garcia and Eugene and Michael Laverty, but some of the others in the smaller classes have long been forgotten.
Fifteen times World Champion Giacomo Agostini younger brother Felice competed in both 125 and 350cc Grands Prix. Felice finished fifth in the 1978 125cc Spanish Grand Prix. William De Angelis, brother of Alex, was 12th in the 1999 Imola 125cc Grand Prix race while Mika Kallio’s younger brother Vesa was 15th in the 125cc race at the 2004 Japanese Grand Prix. While we easily recall the exploits of the Aoyama, Salonen, Bolle, Nieto, Pons, Sayle, Oncu, Van de Goorbergh and Pesek brothers there are other who have been virtually anonymous. World Champion Walter Villa’s older brother Francesco took two third 125cc places in the fifties. Alex Barros’s brother Cesar competed in 125 and 250cc Grands Prix. Jose and 350cc World Champion Johnny Cecotto competed in Grands Prix and in more recent times Tarran and Taylor Mackenzie.
Yes, it really was eight years ago when Valentino and Marc fought for victory in Argentina and Malaysia, exchanging paintwork, words and plenty more on the way.
There is nothing like a good old family feud to get the blood flowing.