Pedro Acosta still has his first MotoGP race ahead of him, but the competition has already taken notice of the teenager from Spain
Pedro Acosta has arrived in the premier class of MotoGP, and not just on the track. The sole rookie on the 2024 MotoGP grid is already a hot topic in the minds of his rivals too
No wonder: Acosta made a strong impression both at his first ever MotoGP test, the Valencia test in November 2023, and recently at the Sepang 2024 test. The 19-year-old Spaniard, who rides for Tech3-GasGas, immediately set competitive lap times on the KTM RC16.
Even if Acosta himself does not want to overestimate his top 10 result at the Sepang test, his opponents have already taken notice of him. Eight-time motorcycle world champion Marc Marquez, for example, says of the new “prodigy” from Spain: “He will be super-fast in the course of the season. Sooner or later, I don’t know exactly when, he will also be in contention for the world title.”
Marquez is already comparing Acosta to Fabio Quartararo and Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia, the two who have won the three previous world championship titles in the premier class.
“Quartararo was super-fast as soon as he started, and so were others. And when ‘Pecco’ tested here for the first time, he was even fastest on one of the days, if I remember correctly. On the test days now, Pedro was also super fast,” says Marquez.
Marquez does not see the fact that Acosta crashed during his six days of testing in Sepang (shakedown test plus official test) as a problem at all, quite the opposite: “The fact that he also had crashes helps his learning process. That’s exactly how you learn. It just shows that he is attacking. That’s a good attitude. I will always defend this attitude.”
Two-time and reigning MotoGP World Champion Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia met Acosta directly on the track at the Sepang test this week. He says: “He was right behind me on my first ride out. I could hear him going too wide in turn 1. He must have been sucked into the slipstream. It was a rookie mistake. When I turned around on the following lap, he didn’t make it again. “
Vice World Champion Jorge Martin also watched the young Acosta at the Sepang test and said: “Because he’s been riding for a few days in a row now, he already knows the track really well. He is very fast. But that was to be expected to a certain extent when you look at his lap times from the shakedown. What surprises me is his pace. It’s not easy to reel off these lap times in one go. He really does an incredible job.”
Acosta’s brand colleague Brad Binder, who rides for the KTM factory team, also said after the Sepang test about the rookie in the Tech3 GasGas team: “He rides really really well. He is fast.” In contrast to Marquez, Bagnaia and Martin, who all ride a Ducati, Binder can not only observe Acosta with his own eyes, but he can also view the rookie’s data directly.
“If you look at his data, for example how he brakes, you notice that he does it very cleanly. He has an extremely clean driving style,” praises Binder. His conclusion about Acosta, before the teenager has even contested his first MotoGP race, is: “He has a lot of talent, he works hard and he rides really well. He will go his way, no question about it. “