How Yamaha’s Spain MotoGP Champion continues to inspire despite his reputation

If there’s one thing fans know about Marc Marquez, it’s that this 25-year-old Spaniard has an attitude problem. He likes to party, likes to live it up.

“When I tell you how I live, you won’t believe me,” the MotoGP championship leader said after Saturday’s race. “This is the way I live. But I think it’s also something good to show the fans because I live for the fans and I don’t care what people say about my lifestyle.”

Marquez certainly went overboard after winning Saturday’s Assen Grand Prix. Arriving to the post-race news conference with his girlfriend, Julia Mantilla, he declared his love for “this woman” while sportscaster Guillem Balaguer tried to speak.

But Marquez didn’t like it.

“Sorry to take away from the event, but I want to mention what happened because Balaguer took my hand and said, ‘You’re a grown-up.’ And I guess that he touched me a little bit,” Marquez explained. “Unfortunately I have a problem with my wrist right now and I was saying in Spanish that it was not my wrist. And he said, ‘I don’t know how you felt.’”

When the issue was resolved, Marquez returned to show just how frustrated he was.

“If you don’t understand that it was actually my own hand, okay, it’s because I take care of myself,” he said. “Look, I’m in my first year of motorcycle racing, and everything I do is my own decisions. I drink a lot, I go to bars, I have fun, I’m at a party, I have some roses, I’m with a girl. But if you want to call me and tell me that I am spoiling, why you do that? We are still racing. So why you are doing that? What’s the reason? Because I am with the fans.”

Marquez might come off as a bit of a whiner, but he’s quickly proved himself one of the most talented and fiesty drivers in the sport.

He gets up in the morning to see his mother before going to work, according to reports. He spends his off-season surfing and playing soccer, and his footwork leaves much to be desired.

But the La Venta Gang leader is quick to seek out the good in his life, whether it’s an economic crisis in his home town of Girona or a personal challenge that pushes him.

“You know, when I went to Switzerland after the first place won the Grand Prix, that’s when I understood that I have to work really hard,” Marquez said. “I could have been at the beach or anything like that but I chose to go to Switzerland. It was a big difference for me.

“Even in the MotoGP, when we had to stay in the wrong hotel in Assen, not in front of the track, I still did my best, worked my hardest. I was really humble about that. I’m driving, a lot. It’s my second season, but I’m working a lot.”

His dedication to finding the positive side of the often negative life of a professional motorcycle racer is one of the main reasons why fans like him so much.

At Assen, he’s even not the most handsome man in the paddock. If anything, his power mask and gold chains made him look more like a summer-camp frat boy with a super hero alter ego than the title-holder of this year’s world championship.

The biggest celebrity in this kind of world isn’t a film star or pop star, but the type of cutthroat racer Marquez typically is.

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