He replaces compatriot Jorge Lorenzo, a triple MotoGP champion who retired after last weekend’s season-ending race in Valencia.
The announcement dashed the hopes of French rider Johann Zarco, who is looking for a seat after leaving the Austrian KTM team.
The Marquez brothers are not the only siblings lining up on the MotoGP grid, with Spaniards Pol and Aleix Espargaro also competing at KTM and Aprilia respectively, but they will be the only ones in the same team.
Formula One has seen a number of brothers competing at the same time, including Michael and Ralf Schumacher at different teams in the 1990s and 2000s.
The 2020 MotoGP season starts in Qatar on March 8.
When it comes to American open-wheel racing, few boast a CV better than Brisbane-born Kiwi Dixon.
IndyCar titles in 2003, 2008, 2013, 2015 and 2018. Yep, that’s five. An Indianapolis 500 victory from pole position in 2008. He was the first – and remains only – New Zealander to win the famous race.
Dixon is the third winningest driver in American championship cars history (46) and trails only AJ Foyt and Mario Andretti on the all-time list. Racing names don’t come bigger than those two.
Put simply, Dixon is IndyCar’s benchmark. The 39-year-old has won at least one race for fifteen seasons in a row between 2005 and 2019. Such is his status, that this year, he was promoted to Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queens Birthday Honours – a decade after he was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to motorsport.
Dixon has previously won the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona twice. He’s no stranger to endurance racing. However, as a Kiwi, Dixon also knows all about Mount Panorama, and has in fact raced a Supercar on the Gold Coast for Kelly’s team in 2010.
“I have never raced at Bathurst before, but I’ve watched races at the Mount Panorama Circuit back when I was a teenager,” said Dixon, who tested the R-Motorsport Aston Martin GT3 in Portugal with Kelly and Dennis.
“What I like most about the circuit is the high commitment, especially across the top, the high speed passages and then down the chase and all the way to the last corner.
“It’s much like a street course with the concrete walls and the very confined spots. You need an extremely good flow. I’ve done GT racing as such with the four Le Mans 24 hours races and other endurance events, but never GT3.
“I love doing the long distance races. It complements quite well with the IndyCar series at the moment to do Daytona 24h and Sebring 12h, but also Petit Le Mans, which was the first endurance race I did back in 1999.”
Dixon will have a great mentor in 2006 Supercars champion and two-time Bathurst 1000 winner Kelly, who will return to the 12 Hour for the first time since 2016.
Dixon drove alongside Kelly’s older brother and 2005 Bathurst 1000 winner Todd at the 2010 Gold Coast Supercars event.
Alongside DTM ace Dennis, who has tested Red Bull Racing F1 cars and impressed to second in the 2019 Bathurst 12 Hour, Dixon has all the ingredients required to make his maiden competitive Bathurst visit a good one.
“I’m stoked to work with Scott again, we know him best for his Indy achievements but his efforts in our Supercar at the Gold Coast a few years back were outstanding considering he hadn’t driven that car before so I’m sure he’ll be on top of the Aston in no time,” said Kelly.
R-Motorsport team principal Dr Florian Kamelger added: “We are fielding the best possible combination of drivers at Bathurst with Australian Supercars champion and two-time Bathurst 1000 winner Rick Kelly, and Scott Dixon, who is a five-time IndyCar champion and winner of the 500-Mile Indianapolis, plus Jake Dennis, DTM newcomer and runner-up from 2019.
“We are delighted that stars such as Rick and Scott will be there to boost our efforts in the Bathurst project and would like to thank our partners, Castrol and BP, for their amazing support.
“They are the ones, who have made it possible for us to take part in this sensational race in the first place. After our excellent second place finish at the start of this year, another podium finish in the endurance classic in 2020 would be a dream result.”
Following the test – with an eye on shedding approximately 12 percent of downforce from the 2019 cars – Supercars signed off on new aero changes for both the Ford Mustang and the Holden Commodore, with the category’s head of motorsport Adrian Burgess initially satisfied with the results.
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“Following the recent VCAT testing that took place in Queensland, Supercars Head of Motorsport, Adrian Burgess has elected to extend the programme by an additional three days in January,” read a Supercars statement.
“While originally scheduled for five days, the VCAT testing process timeline is dependent on all variables being accurately measured and checked.
“Rigorous analysis of the data following the initial testing has indicated some results that require further verification. Given the criticality of the process, the Supercars Motorsport Team and the two homologation teams, Triple Eight Race Engineering and DJR Team Penske, agreed that extending the test was necessary to ensure all variables are fully covered.
“The final results of the testing will be available in the second half of January 2020.”
Rick Kelly will make a return to the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour next tear to lead a star-studded line-up in a Castrol-backed Aston Martin GT3.
The 2006 Supercars champion will form a super line-up alongside DTM star Jake Dennis and five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon in the R Motorsport entry.
Dennis returns with R Motorsport after leading a competitive campaign for the team at the 20119 Bathurst 12Hour, with the Briton finishing second on debut.
Kelly last competed in the once-round-the-clock race in 2016 and finished second in a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, while Kiwi ace Dixon will make his Bathurst 12 Hour debut.
It’s a formidable line-up, and Kelly was excited to join two of world motorsport’s leading lights at Mount Panorama, a scene of two Bathurst 1000 triumphs for the 36-year-old in 2003 and 2004.
I’m so excited to share with you that I’ll be joining R Motorsport with Scott Dixon and Jake Dennis for the Bathurst 12 Hour! I have tested the Aston today in Portugal. What an awesome car, I have a smile from ear to ear! Also stoked to work with Castrol and BP on this. pic.twitter.com/gh11PB7ZTb
“I couldn’t be more excited to be heading back to the Bathurst 12 Hour and to be joining the R-Motorsport Team in the Aston Martin,” said Kelly.
“Since my last 12 Hour campaign in 2016 I have been keeping a close eye on the event with a keen eye to returning, it’s such a great event with many different challenges to what I’m used to in the Supercar at Bathurst.
“Most drivers would agree that visiting Bathurst just once a year isn’t enough, having the chance to push the Aston across the top of the mountain is something that I’m really looking forward to.
“In places where we are on the brakes in the Supercar, these guys are on the throttle. It’s going to be an awesome challenge.
“I have been working the R Motorsport Team in the background for several months now to piece this project together and they have been a real pleasure to work with, so I’m really looking forward to being a part of their Team at the event.”
“Getting the chance to visit Portugal and test the Aston is a real thrill, especially having the chance to share the car with Scott and Jake, two world class talents that will be a great asset to us as we piece together our attack on the mountain early next year,” said Kelly.
“I had to pinch myself when I saw the Aston for the first time with all three of our names above the door.
“Jake’s efforts last year were nothing short of impressive both in the race and also in qualifying, and I’m stoked to work with Scott again.
“We know him best for his Indy achievements but his efforts in our Supercar at the Gold Coast a few years back were outstanding considering he hadn’t driven that car before, so I’m sure he’ll be on top of the Aston in no time.”
Dennis, who has tested for the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team, claimed pole for the 2019 race aboard his Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3 only to be demoted to third following a pit lane speeding penalty.
He then lost out to Aussie Porsche ace Matt Campbell in the latter stages of the race, and is keen to rebound in 2020.
“My memories from last year are mixed,” said Dennis.
“The podium was good but I was super disappointed to loose out on the win with 10 mins to go.
“But if someone said to us at the start of the weekend that we would finish P2 with three rookies I would have taken it any day of the week.
“Having two experienced guys with me in the car is amazing and overwhelming. I can’t wait to start working with them and learn things off them.
“It’s a strong line up and I’m very excited to get things started there.”