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Pedro Acosta sneaks into Marc Márquez’s film at the MotoGP premiere | Motorcycling | Sports

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The Gresini team has been encouraging the staff for months with a campaign worthy of the Oscars. We make a cinema (Let’s make a movie), reads the slogan of the Ducati customer squad since Marc Márquez, eight-time world champion, joined their ranks. The hype of the Italians reached unusual levels in MotoGP when on Thursday they snuck a goat of flesh and blood into the paddock to give another twist to your excellent marketing campaign: here goes the GOAT —goat in English and an acronym for “the best of all time”, a very popular expression in the Anglo-Saxon world to refer to the great myths of sport—, they came to say.

The 31-year-old rider from Cervera, in fact, captured all the attention before the bikes started rolling at the Qatar GP, a luxury setting to premiere his blockbuster. In the middle of the desert, illuminated at night by thousands of spotlights as if the Lusail international circuit were a giant set, the Spaniard launched his candidacy for best leading actor: sixth on the grid, fifth in the sprint and fourth in Sunday’s grand prix with his new bike. “In the Valencia test I would have signed for fourth in my first race with the Ducati. On this circuit I have always suffered with my driving,” declared 93.

Márquez acknowledged his own mistakes to justify his lack of top speed on a straight line and a certain added tension when it came to controlling the instincts that lead him to treat the Italian motorcycle like the Honda, but he still ended the weekend clearing up his own doubts. “We cannot forget that all athletes have their moment and then experience a drop in performance,” he had warned. “In that fall you have to work harder and harder to maintain the level. And on top of that, new talents arrive, like Fabio (Quartararo), Pedro (Acosta), Pecco (Bagnaia) or Jorge (Martín), who are being faster. I must learn from the younger ones to maintain the highest level possible.”

Despite the magnificent debut on the back of the Desmosedici GP23, the machine that crowned Pecco Bagnaia as two-time champion just five months ago, and its movie staging, it was not the Catalan who received the greatest praise from critics. Neither did the Italian and defender of the crown, leader after the first round of the 2024 championship with a resounding dominance on Sunday. The high level exhibited was not enough for both of them before the emergence of a new figure.

Pedro Acosta, a newcomer to the big screen, received unanimous applause from the seats. The 19-year-old from Murcia gave the most spectacular performance on the court and showed a special grace for interpreting the script off it. “It lasted as long as it had to last. This is like losing your virginity, everything is very nice at first, but it ends up being a disaster. “Today’s story couldn’t end so well,” he blurted out with unabashed naturalness. He was referring to his overtaking of Márquez, a movement that will be immortalized in more than one documentary in a few years, an allegory of the conjunction of the best past, present and future of the World Cup. The blow allowed him to place fourth at the interval of a race where he found himself eleventh in the first corner after a bad start from eighth place.

“His attitude is that of a champion, of impudence. “He will soon be fighting for the podium, for the victories, and we will see if he will do it for the championship,” congratulated the 93, who was not at all surprised by the aggressiveness of the phenomenon from Mazarrón. Although his ambition caused him to plummet from fourth to ninth place when the performance of his tires and his physique dropped, no one was left with the result within the paddock. “He comes wanting to take on the world,” summed up Marc. The kid was received with applause in the GasGas garage, the KTM group’s shuttle team, which has been pampering him for many years. In the MotoGP offices they finally see a worthy candidate to inherit the star and charisma of the eight-time world champion.

Very satisfied with having overtaken at will, with up to five ax blows throughout the race and more than one high-voltage give and take without losing his nerve, Acosta slipped into his speech his character as a runner with the potential to mark an era: “It is Better to do ten laps like that and then go back than to do twenty laps going fifth.” Since last year he had been repeating that he has not reached the highest category of motorcycling to make friends. The three members of the podium also couldn’t believe it when reviewing the images of the race: “Holy Acosta, I was fourth!” said Jorge Martín, world runner-up in 2023.

Although he sports an “L” on his clothing, the Shark of Mazarrón, a nickname that could not have been painted given his voracity on the track, revealed his status as an agitator of the established order with incredible saves and a rhythm always on par with the best. He accelerated so much in his first test that he even took the fastest lap on Sunday. A motto crowns his philosophy on the back of the helmet and presents him to the general public: “Aim for the moon. Even if you fail, you will land among the stars.” In MotoGP they rub their hands, and the blockbuster of Marc Márquez and company is joined by Pedro Acosta in the cast.

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