The two-wheel motorsport has plenty of fast families. Look at Marc and Alex Marquez; they are arguably the most famous brothers ever in MotoGP. They made history in Catalunya 2014 by becoming the first brothers to win a Motorcycle Grand Prix race on the same day, and nowadays even more so by sharing the garage of the Repsol Honda MotoGP Team.
The Marquez’s, as well as Aleix and Pol Espargaro, have often spoken about the benefits of having one racing brother. The gains include being able to brainstorm what’s happening on the bike, through to support and guidance during tough times and injuries. Plus, the success of one brother helps boost the profile of the other.
So what about Valentino Rossi and Luca Marini? Luca was born in August 1997 to Stefania Palma (Valentino’s mother) and Massimo Marini, when The Doctor was winning his first world title in the 125cc GP class with Aprilia. When Luca was riding his first pocket bikes at 5 years old, Valentino was already a multiple world champion in three classes. And by the time Marini joined Moto3, Rossi was a living legend in the motorsport world.
The stunning likeness between the two, especially when Luca was a young boy, boosted the MotoGP fans: they had found Rossi’s heir! As Luca navigated through the first steps of the GPs, all the spotlights were on him. It wasn’t easy to deal with such pressure, when you are seen by everybody as “the brother of”.
“I didn’t start racing because I wanted to emulate Vale”, stated Luca, “it was my decision. I started on pocket bikes following the example of kids of my age, riding in Cattolica (a town close to Misano). There are 18 years between men and Vale. When you are a kid, you see things differently. I didn’t look at Valentino as everybody else. I didn’t see the rider, but the brother.
“When I took the decision to become a professional rider, having Vale alongside me has helped. He is the best, and I knew I could count on him for advice. But I believe that in the end the decision was mine, otherwise I would have done something different. I could have become a football player, for example, which is my second passion”.
Marini began to really shine when he joined Moto2 in 2018, with one victory and four podium finishes. In 2019, his talent was confirmed with two victories in a row in Thailand and Japan. For Marini, the target is clear: fighting for the title with the goal to be promoted in MotoGP in 2021.
“Competing in MotoGP is the dream of every rider”, commented the Sky VR46 rider, “being observed by the MotoGP teams is a privilege, not a reason of extra pressure.” A seat in the premier class would mean to share the track, if not the same garage with his elder and famous brother.
“Racing next year with Vale in the Petronas team? Honestly, I don’t know. Firstly, they would have to fire Morbidelli (another VR46 rider), so I prefer to do a good job this year, and let’s see”.
On the brothers riding together in 2021, their mother Stefania Palma commented: “I don’t know. I’d have to think about it. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing. I will think about when it will be the case. As a motorsport fan, I would say “fantastic”, as a mother, I think of Marc and Alex Marquez. It’s amazing, but also a huge risk. For Marc it could be a source of distraction”.