MotoGP star hails Alonso’s ‘second youth’ in F1

Wed, 17 April 2024, 11:00

Apr.17 (GMM) Top MotoGP rider and six-time champion Marc Marquez has hit back at the notion that Fernando Alonso should have hung up his helmet.

Ferrari’s 26-year-old Charles Leclerc this week declared that although Alonso “deserves his place” on the grid, “there are so many young people who deserve a place” too.

“It’s not easy to find the balance,” said Leclerc.

The implication is that, as he approaches his 43rd birthday, Alonso might have been morally obliged to step aside rather than sign his new Aston Martin deal, which will see his F1 career stretch out to an eye-watering 23 full seasons – and counting.

But Marquez, who like Alonso is Spanish, says the two-time champion is more than entitled to keep on racing.

“I already said in an interview that Fernando is experiencing a second youth,” he told the Spanish sports daily AS.

“Having seen him when I was a child when he was at Renault and winning his titles, this second youth is very valuable for the media and for Spain.

“I think motorsport is highly valued in Spain, as well as non-motorsport – sport in general. For me, it is almost more impressive for him to have stopped and then come back like this,” Marquez, 31, added.

Indeed, Alonso actually quit F1 after his disastrous Honda-powered stint at McLaren – returning for Alpine in 2021 which then led onto Aston Martin and his latest era of top form.

“The first career he had was clearly very impressive,” Marquez said.

“But as an athlete, stopping like that, going into other disciplines and then returning to F1, being competitive, having the teams still love you because they need the experience that you have – that’s what I value the most.”

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