Acosta will fight for MotoGP title «sooner or later», says Marquez

One of the most promising riders to come through the ranks in recent years, Acosta will make his highly-anticipated premier class debut next month at the age of just 19.

The Spaniard had already turned heads with his performances in the junior classes, winning the Moto3 title in his rookie season in 2021 and taking just two years to repeat that success in Moto2.

Interview: Why Pedro Acosta is shaping up to be the rookie MotoGP needs

But just as impressive was his speed in last weekend’s pre-season test at Sepang on the KTM RC16, as he ended up less than a tenth behind factory team rider Brad Binder in ninth place.

Although he did get three additional days of running at the Malaysian venue thanks to his status as a rookie, many of his rivals feel Acosta is already beginning to show speed and maturity well beyond his age.

Six-time MotoGP champion Marquez hailed the Spaniard as a “super talent” after closely following his progress at Sepang and believes he will be capable of contending for the title “sooner or later”.

“He will be super fast during the season,” Marquez said of Acosta. “Already [Fabio] Quartararo [was fast when he made his MotoGP debut in 2019].

“Now the guys that arrive in MotoGP are super fast. Pecco [Bagnaia] when he arrived here in the first pre-season test [in 2019], he was leading. He was the fastest in one day.

«Pedro was super fast during the test. He crashed, but it’s the way to learn.

Pedro Acosta, Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing

Pedro Acosta, Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“He crashed I don’t know how many times, but it’s the way to learn. He is attacking, so this is good, it’s a good mentality. I always defend that mentality.

“He’s fast, he will be a super talent. Maybe it will take him more time or less time, but he will fight for the championship soon or later.”

Acosta’s speed at Sepang also caught the attention of KTM motorsport boss Pit Beirer, who is excited about what the teen racer can achieve in his MotoGP career.

KTM had been closely following Acosta’s junior career and handed him a MotoGP contract for 2024 while he was still competing in Moto3 three years ago.

«In Malaysia I saw what all of you saw,» Beirer said. «He started and did fantastic things. Every day he got better and better, during the six days.

“He finished with a final time two tenths faster than last year’s pole position [time]. So the level he reaches in this category is very, very high.

«Everyone talks about him, about how many records he has broken before in the other categories, about how young he is.

“But it is still interesting to see what really happens when he goes from Moto2 to MotoGP. Things can go better than expected, but they can also get really difficult.

“But he’s just amazing. He’s good.»

Pedro Acosta, Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing

Pedro Acosta, Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Acosta still has a lot to learn

Acosta’s time of 1m57.365s on the final day of the Sepang test left him 0.683s off the pace of Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia, although he was quicker than both Jack Miller on the factory KTM as well as Tech3 team-mate Augusto Fernandez.

While his performance in Malaysia has received widespread praise from both KTM as well as rivals, Acosta feels he still has a lot to learn as he continues to acclimatise himself to faster MotoGP bikes.

Asked how far along he was in his progression as a rider, he said: “Still way to go. Now 0.6s behind.

“At the end we see that they know how to go fast. I don’t know if Marquez was struggling yesterday [on day two of the Sepang test] or he was just easing in a bit.

“But he was in front on the final day and making absolutely good times. For these guys they know how to do it. They are not stupid, they know how to be like this. It’s not a surprise.

“But I’m quite happy. We are riding faster than the old lap records. They were fast also but I’m happy because there is still way to go.”

Despite being considered by many as the most promising rookie in MotoGP since Marquez entered the championship in 2013, Acosta believes he has been able to deal with the pressure that comes from high expectations.

“Pressure is only a word,” he said. “If you believe in that you take it.

“I lived the last three years of life with pressure, so for now it’s become quite normal.”

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