Jorge Martin in front of Joe Roberts and Brad Binder, recorded by us in Moto2 FP2 at the Circuito de Cataluña in 2019. Only the man in the middle is still missing from MotoGP today, which could possibly change soon. Despite the excellent performances and current lead in the intermediate rankings from the pilot in the front of the picture, most people are currently only talking about his compatriot Acosta.

Pedro Acosta – hardly comparable to Marc Marquez

Although many journalists jumped on it with enthusiasm, comparing Pedro Acosta with the best Spanish MotoGP rider in history is pointless and currently completely misguided. If you do it anyway, the newcomer from Murcia will hardly be able to keep up with the 8-time world champion. There are various reasons for this and one of them is the prerequisite with which the two launched their careers in the premier class of motorcycle racing. Under pressure from Dorna, the FIM even changed the regulations especially for Marc Marquez for the 2013 season. Like Valentino Rossi before him, he was promoted directly to a MotoGP factory team. As a newly crowned Moto2 world champion, this move brought the Catalan straight into the most successful team of that time. Since 1995 with Mick Doohan, this team had won 9 titles and only because Valentino Rossi won his first world championship in the premier class in 2001 in the colors of the Italian beer manufacturer Nastro Azzurro did they not have ten. Acosta, on the other hand, will ride with KTM factory material in 2024, but only in the Austrians’ Tech 3 customer team, who have been dreaming of their first title since 2017 without any serious prospect of success.

Pedro Acosta in spring 2021, after one of his numerous victories for Red Bull KTM in Moto3. The following year, however, in the middle category it was only enough for 5th place in the World Cup due to six missed finishes. The Spaniard, who will only turn 20 on May 25, 2024, is considered one of the currently greatest talents in motorcycle road racing. Nevertheless, we should first wait and see how his first years in the premier class develop so as not to be too quick to shower him with praise.

If you compare the first results – Marquez is clearly in the lead

Anyone who compares the careers of the two exceptional talents, despite the fact that it would not actually be permissible, can only come to one conclusion. Marc Marquez is and will remain untouchable and the Catalan even achieved what MotoGP icon Valentino Rossi was denied. Marc was already in the top three in the first race in Losail (Qatar) behind Jorge Lorenzo and the Italian and immediately afterwards the best of all rookies of the modern era took his first MotoGP Grand Prix victory in the second race of his career in Austin (Texas). However, the consistency of the Repsol Honda flagship in his rookie season was almost unbelievable. Marquez only missed the checkered flag twice in 2013 and was on the podium in all other races. A comparison with Rossi’s first season should definitely be avoided because the Italian completed his first two years in the premier class from 2000 on the toxic 500 cm³ two-stroke engines, where the slightest mistake was punished with a violent fall. Nevertheless, the crowd favorite reached the podium as a rookie at the fourth Grand Prix and won his ninth race at the British GP in Donington.

Kenny Roberts senior was an absolute stroke of luck for Yamaha in the 1970s. Before he came “across the pond” to Europe for the 1978 season with factory support, he already announced extremely self-confident, that the world championship title in the premier class was his clear goal. Initially described as a loudmouth by most people, he gave his answer to this from 1978 on the race tracks, which were mostly new to him, and he managed something straight away that only Marc Marquez has been able to do since him.

The almost unattainable first season of the currently world’s best pilot

With six victories, Marc immediately became world champion for Repsol Honda, even though Jorge Lorenzo on the Yamaha had won two more races than him. This is unique in the history of motorcycle racing over the last few decades and even Aussie “Quick” Mick Doohan only managed his first 500cc world championship title in the sixth year. A full 35 years after “King Kenny” Roberts (sen.), when two-stroke engines were still used and with significantly less competition, but on life-threatening courses. What does it look like for Pedro Acosta? After the first two laps, he was in sixth place in the interim rankings, and the GasGas KTM rider took places 8, 9, 7 and third in the first 4 races. To be fair, in the latter case it must be noted that the first podium was due to a failure by Aprilia ace Maverick Viñales; otherwise the 19-year-old KTM hopeful would definitely not have made it to the podium on his own.

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) before the start of the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang – a race that ended badly, and not just for him. In 2015, he used questionable means from the point of view of many fans to thwart his arch-enemy Valentino Rossi several times in 2015 in order to successfully prevent his victory and next title. There were unpleasant scenes, after which the Catalan was chosen as a bogeyman by many spectators for years. Marc gave his answer to this on the race tracks and from the following year won four titles in a row.

One record of No. 93 would even be possible for Acosta in 2024

Pedro still has the chance to replace Marc as the youngest MotoGP winner in history if he wins his first Grand Prix at the Sachsenring. Marquez was 20 years, two months and 4 days old when he won his first GP in Austin. However, just trying to equalize his rookie season would be seen as illusory for Acosta. Marc not only won his first world title in MotoGP in 2013, but also knew how to defend it the following year. Even Valentino Rossi as vice world champion in his first MotoGP year, as well as possibly Fabio Quartararo as fifth in the World Championship when he started in 2019 and Johann Zarco (sixth in his debut season on Yamaha in 2017) are out of reach of the young Spaniard, whose baptism of fire in the MotoGP.

A desperate Johann Zarco in the KTM box in 2019 – two years before, the Frenchman came into MotoGP as a two-time Moto2 world champion on a Tech 3 Yamaha and immediately caused a sensation. But nothing was right for the Orange and the machine was far inferior to the competition in terms of chassis, which is why the fast man from Cannes voluntarily pulled out of his contract. Five years later, KTM is closer to the top than perhaps ever since joining in 2017.

Strong performances from Pedro – but no comparison with Marc

In terms of riding, Acosta is of course one of the best of the last few decades, but a comparison with Marquez can only be seen as a mortgage for him. As already mentioned at the beginning, this is due on the one hand to the material, although Brad Binder, who was second in the World Championship after round 2 with the KTM, leaves little doubt about its competitiveness. On the other hand, just 11 years after the meteoric rise of exceptional talent Marc Marquez, the density has become even more extreme and the time intervals in training and racing have become ever shorter in recent years. In any case, Pedro has already missed two of the number 93’s most important records. Achieving a podium finish straight away and winning the second race shouldn’t be a benchmark for young talents to follow. For the 2024 season, there are also a few other criteria that Acosta cannot influence.

The best three pilots in qualifying at Assen 2017 with from left Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda, P2), pole sitter Johann Zarco (Tech 3 Yamaha) and Danilo Petrucci (Pramac Ducati) in third. For the rookie in the middle from France it was only his eighth lap in the premier class, unfortunately he only managed 14th place in the race. While Valentino Rossi won the race from 4th place on the grid. Pedro Acosta’s best qualifying so far was P7 in Portugal and there is still plenty of room for improvement for him in this area too.

An important aspect – Marc Marquez is back in top form

After the most difficult years of his career, the man from Cervera is once again in the form of his life after risking the loss of his status as a works driver of his own free will. He voluntarily gave up his factory contract with Repsol Honda last year, which was valued at 20 million euros per season, in order to find the joy of racing again on a customer Ducati in the Gresini private team. After a serious injury and physical handicap from 2020, the Spaniard persevered and proved to the public, the fans and, above all, himself in 2024 with excellent results straight away that he still has it. What makes it more difficult for him is the fact that this year the previous year’s Ducati is no longer as superior to the new factory machine at the beginning of the year as was the case last year when Marco Bezzecchi came third in the World Championship with it. The doubters about Marc’s performance should therefore urgently go over the books. Perhaps he, of all people, will cause a lot of headaches for the only rookie of the year.

The worst moment of Marc Marquez’s career when he flew off violently while catching up after a previous mistake in Jerez de la Frontera in 2020 and broke his upper arm. The risk of a comeback too soon after the operation did not pay off and it would be almost a year before Repsol Honda could count on him again. In addition to 3 wins, there were far too many falls and failures due to injuries, which continued in 2022 and 2023, where he also remained winless.

The situation in the World Championship – completely open after 2 rounds

Despite, in the opinion of most experts, a crash after the collision with “Pecco” Bagnaia in the Portuguese GP, Marc Marquez is only one point behind Acosta in sixth place. Although supposed experts such as KTM sports director Pit Beirer did not believe him capable of this before the start of the season, Marquez only needed three races on his new Ducati to leave all of his new brand colleagues behind in the sprint race in Portimão. Comparing anyone else with him is actually out of the question because of all the superlatives he has already achieved in his career. At the moment everything is still completely open after 2 rounds and according to Marc Marquez, the World Cup favorites are among the best of the previous year to search. We express our doubts in this regard and claim that anyone who wants to become world champion in 2024 must, above all, beat him. However, it should always be taken into account that collisions or injuries caused by falls, for example, can ultimately be the deciding factor.

Marc Marquez (Gresini Ducati) chasing Maverick Viñales (Aprilia) and Jorge Martin (Pramac Ducati). In his best race to date on the customer Ducati, which was still almost new to him, the man with the No. 93 came second in the sprint race, ahead of Martin on the new factory machine. Whether rookie Acosta can at some point be seriously compared with the 6-time MotoGP world champion will undoubtedly only become clear after several years.

Unless otherwise stated, this applies to all images (© MotoGP).