In conversation with: Marc Marquez and Ivan Rakitic

The MotoGP™ World Champion joined the FC Barcelona midfielder for a Facebook Live chat

As lockdown restrictions begin to ease in Spain and other parts of Europe, professional athletes are being allowed out to train. Two of those at the peak of their respective sports are Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez and FC Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic, with the duo joining host Georgina Leger for a chat on the La Liga club's Facebook page.

Ivan Rakitic: “I’m really keen to be able to get back to being a proper football player, get back to training in groups and do more specific training. We’re really very motivated. The first day was really great, so we’re keen to continue.”

Georgina Leger: “And you, Marc, have you been able to ride a bike yet?”

Marc Marquez: “No, we’ve started with physical conditioning, so the easing of the lockdown has come with some achy muscles, and after so much time off you can really tell. Today (yesterday - Monday 18th May) was the first day that we could start riding a bike but I decided to wait. Tomorrow or Wednesday, depending on the weather at the circuit, because the circuit has to be in good condition, we will start riding again, little by little, starting to go back to a bit of a normal life, training to get ready for what looks like July, maybe, when the competition will start again.”

GL: “Ivan, what have you done today as a group, anything special because it’s the first day back?”

IR: “I think that everyone’s keen because finally we were able to kick the ball to a teammate, not up against a wall, and that’s what it’s all about.”

GL: “For you, Marc, it’s a bit different because it’s an individual sport but you still have a team that support you. How have you been able to keep in contact with them during these months?”

MM: “Well, via emails, WhatsApp, they send me the training routines, but I always train with my brother. We live together, so we can train together so this has also been good, but training with people always gives you that extra motivation. But it’s true that I’m looking forward to training with other riders, but for now we have to wait and ride on our own at the circuits.”

GL: “Bundesliga has returned to competition, have you been following it? How does it work?”

IR: “I’ve seen various matches and spoken to some ex-teammates in Germany. A few days ago I spoke with Manuel Neuer, the Bayern Munich goalkeeper, and it’s nice to see that they’ve been able to go back. Football is something that we all love but it’s a shame, in the end, to see it without the fans, three or four metres between the seats, it’s an image that we’ll all have to get used to, but footballs back! Everything’s going well in Germany and hopefully we’ll be able to follow.”

GL: “And you, Marc, about the return of the World Championship, how much do you know - as it stands? I guess you’ll be back without public, I don’t know if you guys really notice if there are people there or not?”

MM: “Well, what we know is that on the side of the promotors the riders, the teams, we want to get started as soon as possible, but there’s a priority, which is people’s health, obviously, and those who know about the virus - the experts that are dealing with it - will have the last word. But everything’s looking like mid-July we can start with the Jerez GP but the big handicap we’ll have, in our case, is that the World Championship travels to different countries, there are various nationalities involved, and that’s where it’s more difficult to coordinate everything but they’re trying to create or improvise a championship in a bit of a new style maybe repeating circuits to do different races, so it counts as a World Championship, but adapting to the current situation.”

GL: “Ivan, would you get on a MotoGP bike at 300km per hour?”

IR: “Me, no. Honestly, the bikes… I like watching them and all but seeing people like Marc dominating the bike in that way, it’s nothing like we do on the street. I think that, at the speed Marc goes, it’s impressive. In the corners he’s practically off the bike and that deserves a lot of respect and, honestly, the adrenaline in that moment, between fear and respect, so focused, I think that you have to be that person, not just anybody could do it.”

GL: “It’s impressive. I went round the circuit with Randy Mamola last year and…”

MM: “Oh yeah? As a passenger?”

GL: “Yeah. I was freaking out! It was only the second or third time I’d been on a bike in my life.”

MM: “The sensation of speed is very different on the street and at the circuit because on the street if you go at 120kmh it’s like doing 200kmh at a circuit. There are no lines, no trees, no lampposts and that helps a lot.”

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