So is there something in the blood? There must be, if you look further in the 2021 paddock. Former Moto3 champion Brad Binder became a rare rookie MotoGP winner last year on the KTM; his younger brother Darryn is currently a lion of the Moto3 class. Moto2 sensation Raul Fernandez (winner of his third race in the class) has a younger brother starting out in Moto3.
That wraps it up for the premier series, but Moto2 championship favourite Sam Lowes’s identical twin brother Alex is a race-winning World Superbike contender; while the non-identical Turkish Oncu twins Can (youngest-ever GP winner) and Deniz are tipped for big championship futures.
There are plenty of other past GP-winning examples, including the French Sarron brothers Christian and Dominique, and three “Fireball” Aoki brothers from Japan. But as the championship grows older there are increasing numbers also of father-son combinations to prove that blood is thicker than petrol.
Valentino’s father Graziano Rossi was a noted competitor and GP winner before injury cut short his career; following the path set by fellow-Italians Alberto and Nello Pagani, the first father-son race winners.
Kenny Roberts and his son Kenny Junior are the only pair to have won World Championships; but that might be due to change. Honda’s first 500cc champion Wayne Gardner’s son Remy is fast coming of age in Moto2, leading the championship after the first three races, and is on KTM’s ladder offering a clear path to MotoGP. Remy races with the number 87, in tribute to Dad’s 1987 title.
The list could go on, and will doubtless do so in years to come. Talent clearly does run in families, and opportunity follows an elder’s success.
Images courtesy of Motorsport Images.