MotoGP rookie Alex Marquez says it is the riders’ “responsibility” to encourage self-isolation during the coronavirus pandemic, hence Honda’s participation in Sunday’s all-star Esports race.
MotoGP announced earlier in the week that it would be hosting a six-lap online race around a virtual Mugello circuit on the MotoGP 19 video game, with the 10 premier class riders taking part.
Honda’s 2020 line-up of reigning six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez and his Moto2 title-winning brother Alex will represent the brand in Sunday’s race.
With the COVID-19 outbreak confirmed to have infected over half a million people and killed over 18,000 worldwide as of Friday, countries have been issuing stricter social distancing measures to quell the spread and ease the immense strain on their health care systems.
A number of series, including Formula 1, IndyCar, NASCAR and Supercars, have set up Eseries in lieu of actual racing to keep people entertained.
The youngest Marquez insist riders and drivers have to urge people to stay inside, and this can be achieved by “bringing the races to them”.
“We have a responsibility to encourage people to stay inside and follow the guidelines; if they can’t come to the races then we can bring the races to them,” Alex said.
“I have been following the advice and staying inside, adjusting my training and how I live so that we can all get through this.
“I thought my [MotoGP] ‘racing debut’ would be a little different but I am looking forward to it either way.
“Normally I am quite competitive in the MotoGP game when I play with friends, so I am not sure I am a true rookie but it is very hard to know the level of the other riders.”
Brother Marc says Sunday’s event “will be really nice to have some fun and bring action to the fans”, and expects all the riders will be able “to go full aggression” due to the short race format.
“All of us are living in a difficult moment so it will be really nice to have some fun and bring some action to the fans,” Marc added.
“We are doing this for all of the people who love MotoGP, to give them something nice during these incredibly hard days, thanks to the other riders and the championship for putting this together.
“I have been remaining at home, still training as much as I can while staying safe.
“Alex and I enjoy playing the MotoGP game together but now we must be a little more serious about it.
“No matter what we are racing, as riders we want to win! With the race only being six laps I think we can go full aggression and push the whole way.
“I’m looking forward to doing some racing!”
On Thursday MotoGP announced its hiatus would continue into May after the Spanish Grand Prix was postponed, while the French and Italian GPs are set to go the same way.