Both speed and G-forces are relative—and just because Marc Márquez knows what he’s doing on a bike doesn’t tell us anything about his skills in an aerobatic plane. Still, if we know anything about the man that isn’t race stats, it’s that he’s game for just about anything.
Lucky for him, his team is Repsol Honda—and Repsol is also a proud sponsor of Red Bull Air Race pilot Juan Velarde, another talented Spaniard. Velarde recently took Márquez up in his two-seater aerobatic machine and showed him the basics.
During the course of the flight, Márquez noted that there’s a huge difference in orienting yourself between the two vehicles—which makes sense, given the drastic differences in comparative movements you can make while piloting each vehicle.
At one point, Velarde took his hands off the controls and told the five-time MotoGP champion that he was on his own. Then, he dared Márquez to do a barrel roll—as one does with a complete aerobatic newbie, of course.
Márquez confidently took the stick and did exactly what Velarde had told him to do—and neither upset the plane nor knocked anyone else out of the way while turning. He also offered to return the favor and take Velarde on the back of his MotoGP bike—an offer that Velarde politely declined. Maybe the pilot doesn’t dig full-face helmets?
It’s worth noting that if Velarde was a top-level motorcycle racer, he’d be really tall compared to the competition. Velarde stands tall at a height of 6’2”, while Márquez, by contrast, is 5’6”. For a good recent MotoGP rider height comparison, Loris Baz also stands out at a lofty height of 6’2”. While Red Bull Air Race pilots as a rule might be taller that top-level motorcycle racers, even in his chosen competitive field, Velarde is still one of the tallest pilots currently flying according to his official RBAR profile.