Not just Darryn and Brad Binder: brothers in the World Cup


Because Darryn Binder will be promoted directly from the Moto3 World Championship to the premier class, three pairs of brothers will also be seen in the MotoGP World Championship in 2022. Marquez and Co. were by no means the first.

Over the past 20 or 30 years, brothers have met again and again in the “premier class”. I immediately think of Nobuatsu and Takuma Aoki, who, for example, landed on the podium alongside Mick Doohan in the 1997 500cc GP in Imola. Aleix (32) and Pol Espargaró (30) have met in the premier class since 2014.

The Japanese Aoki family even formed a specialty. Three brothers achieved notable GP successes. With Nobuatsu (he remained a Suzuki MotoGP test driver until 2015), Haruchika (two-time 125 cc world champion) and Takuma Aoki (paraplegic after a motorcycle accident), the Aoki family even produced three racing drivers. In 1997 Takuma and Nobuatsu met in the 500cc class, in 1999 it was Haruchika and Nobuatsu.

In 2020, two brothers, Marc and Alex Márquez, competed together in the Repsol MotoGP factory team for the first time, but the older brother and six-time MotoGP champion was already out due to an injury at the late start of the season in July. After his rookie season, Alex was transferred to LCR.

For 42-year-old Valentino Rossi and his brother Luca Marini (24), on the other hand, there was the premiere in Qatar in 2021: For the first time they competed in the same World Cup class. With the retirement of the nine-time world champion at the end of the season, a brother duo was broken up in the MotoGP World Championship, but Marini always remains in the family’s VR46 team. The Binder brothers ensure that three pairs of siblings are still on the starting line-up in the premier class – alongside the Espargaró and Márquez brothers.

Brad warned Darryn beforehand. “If you hit me, you’ll move out of my house,” the KTM star jokingly announced when Darryn’s MotoGP deal was announced in October.

Given the occasion, we rummaged through the statistics and picked out a few milestones.

– The last time that two brothers competed in MotoGP before the Espargarós started in 2014 was at the US GP in Laguna Seca in 2010. At that time Nicky Hayden competed for Ducati, brother Roger Lee as a replacement for Randy de Puniet at LCR-Honda. Both drivers scored points: 5th place Nicky. 11th place Roger Lee.

– The last time two brothers were permanent MotoGP competitors prior to 2014 was in 2004 when Kenny and Kurtis Roberts rode the Proton KR V5 990cc machine.

– In addition to the Roberts brothers in 2004, other brothers competed full time in the premier class. Nobuatsu and Takuma Aoki 1997, Bernard and Marc Garcia 1994 and 1995, Dominique and Christian Sarron 1989.

– The last two brothers to stand together on the “premier class” podium were Nobuatsu and Takuma Aoki: They came in second and third at the 1997 Imola GP alongside Mick Doohan.

– The only other occasion where two brothers met on the podium in the premier class was in Argentina in 1962. Juan Salatino was second at the time, brother Eduardo was third.

In the smaller classes, Alex and William De Angelis from San Marino competed together in the 125 cc World Championship from 1999 to 2001 and later Hiroshi and Shuhei Aoyama competed in the 250 cc class for years.

The list of pairs of brothers, both of whom came to GP outings at different times or in different classes, is much longer, it includes a total of around 50 pairs.

Adrian and Raúl Fernandez added themselves to this list in 2021: Adrian drove his first Moto3 World Championship season with Husqvarna in 2021 and will switch to the Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team in 2022. Raúl enters the MotoGP class as Moto2 runner-up.

Marc and Alex Márquez were the first brothers to claim a motorcycle world title (MotoGP and Moto3) in 2014 in the same year, and that is how they went down in GP history. As a reward for the Moto3 title, Alex Márquez was allowed to test the MotoGP Honda RC213V after the final in Valencia in 2014. At that time, both Márquez brothers raced around the track in Repsol Honda machines.

HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto assured six years ago that he could imagine a Repsol factory team with both Márquez brothers in 2017. But it took Alex five years to finally win the Moto2 World Championship in 2019. So for the second time he became world champion in the same year as his brother Marc, after which the Repsol dream came true for him, if only for one season.

In 2015, in addition to the Espargarós, a second pair of brothers wanted to compete in the MotoGP class. Superbike World Championship star Eugene Laverty started for the Aspar team, but brother Michael Laverty did not get a MotoGP place after Paul Bird Motorsport withdrew.

It would have been a double premiere: Until then, two pairs of brothers had never competed as regular drivers in the premier class at the same time in GP history. And for the first time two brothers would not have started for the same nation. The Lavertys come from Northern Ireland, which is part of Great Britain, Michael sails under the British flag. Eugene, however, has an Irish license and is therefore considered a pilot from Ireland.

By the way: the first brothers to win motorcycle grands prix were Christian and Dominique Sarron. Christian won a total of seven Grands Prix in the 250 cc and 500 cc classes. Dominique won four 250 cc races and finished the 1986 season in third place.

In recent years more and more brothers have appeared on the GP scene. With the Turks Can and Deniz Öncü we even saw twins in the same class (Moto3) at the start in 2019. They already shone with 1st and 2nd overall in the Red Bull Rookies Cup 2018. And Can won his GP debut in Valencia at the age of 15.5, but is now in the Supersport World Cup.

By the way: The Lowes twins were also briefly in the MotoGP paddock in 2016 when Alex contested the Grand Prix at Silverstone and Misano for Tech3.

World Champion son Axel Pons presented himself with moderate success in the Moto2 World Championship. Brother Edgar won the Moto2 European Championship twice, but in GP racing the shoes of Papa Sito (250 cc world champion in 1988 and 1989 on a Honda) were too big for him too. He stopped after the 2020 season, Edgar is now responsible for sports management in the family’s Moto2 team.

Brothers who competed in different or the same GP classes:

Adrian and Raúl Fernandez
Marc and Alex Márquez
Pol and Aleix Espargaró
Valentino Rossi and Luca Marini
Axel and Edgar Pons
Deniz and Can Öncü
Eugene and Michael Laverty
Sam and Alex Lowes
Brad and Darryn Binder
Nobuatsu, Haruchika, Takuma Aoki
Kensuke and Noriyuki Haga
Vesa and Mika Kallio
Giacomo and Felice Agostini
Jacque and Pierre Bolle
Jorge and Raul Kissling
George and Peter Looijesteyn
Matti and Penti Salonen
Patrick and Jürgen van der Goorbergh
Francesco and Walter Villa
Alfred and Gerhard Waibel
Horst and Helmut Kassner

Max and Helmut Bradl competed together in the 250 cc European championship in 1986, but not in the world championship.

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