Who is Pedro Acosta and why is he being touted as the next Marc Marquez?

Three wins from his first four races in grand prix competition has earmarked Moto3 Championship leader Pedro Acosta as motorcycle racing's next big thing

Pedro Acosta - Moto3 KTM 2021

Being young, Spanish and competing in the feeder categories of grand prix racing should make it difficult to get noticed if you’re in your first season of Moto3 but for Pedro Acosta it has taken only four races for the paddock to sit up and take close notice of him. 

Indeed, the step towards international competition is a daunting one for any up-and-coming racer but Acosta - only 16-years old - has not only taken it in his stride, but has surged clear of the competition with three victories from four races and a points’ total of 95 from a possible 100.

Records are quickly tumbling for the youngster, competing with the KTM Factory Racing team, including becoming the first rider in the history of GP racing to get on the podium in his first four races.

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Moreover, he has done it in some remarkable style; he won his first race in Qatar after starting from the pit-lane, while his most recent victory in Jerez was achieved from 13th on the grid and after passing two riders on the final lap, a crucial overtake that put him just clear of Deniz Oncu, Darryn Binder and Jaume Masia when they collided behind him on the last corner.

He has certainly struck a chord, with social media lighting up to not only congratulate Acosta's achievements but praise his savvy race craft and tactics that belie his age from numerous current and former high-profile racers. In short, the people who know a big talent when they see one.

Of course, making comparisons to the likes of Marc Marquez and Joan Mir aren’t new in the novice reaches of grand prix racing, but even if you use the two most recent MotoGP champions as a benchmark, Acosta is comfortably surpassing them.

Indeed, no rider has won the Moto3 World Championship in their rookie season. It took Mir until his second full season of competition, while Marquez took three. The most recent Moto3 Champions - Albert Arenas and Lorenzo dalla Porta - took five and three years to lift the trophy, while 2018 Moto3 champion and MotoGP rookie Jorge Martin was in his fourth year.

Interestingly, the buzz surrounding Acosta coming into grand prix racing mirrors that of a certain Fabio Quartararo, who was sweeping aside competition in the Spanish-based CEV Repsol series at the age of 14. Too young to make his grand prix debut, the rules were subsequently changed to allow CEV Moto3 Champions to progress to the World Championship regardless of age.

Of course, Quartararo’s progress proceeded to stall in both Moto3 and Moto2 until he was given his surprise debut in MotoGP in 2019 - the rest, as they say, is history.

Indeed, with Quartararo and 2020 World Champion Mir - who contested just two seasons of Moto3 and one of Moto2 before making his MotoGP debut in 2019 with Suzuki - demonstrating what can be possible if manufacturers commit to promoting talent before they become mired in the evenly-matched intermediate classes, it’s likely Acosta will find himself on every team’s radars now.

More recently we have seen the example of Jorge Martin, who was promoted to MotoGP after only two years in Moto2, and promptly put his Pramac Ducati on pole position and scored a podium in only his second race.

What next for Pedro Acosta?

Of course, four races doesn’t make a championship and Acosta now has the spotlight shining firmly on him, which will provide another interesting - if unforeseen - test of pressure for the youngster. 

Either way, this is good news for KTM, who will be keen to mould him in the same way it has with MotoGP race winners Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder.

Playing devil’s advocate for a moment, leaps from Moto3/125 to MotoGP are very rare but not unheard of. In fact, the last rider to do this was Jack Miller - winner last time out in Jerez - when he went from ‘beginner’ to ‘expert’ in 2015, albeit on the production-based CRT-spec LCR Honda.

Either way, even if Acosta’s season goes downhill from here, his records still stand and it is likely to remain a name on many team’s lips over the coming months... you heard it here first.