Can anyone take the fight to MotoGP alien Marquez?

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Riders continue to search for set up improvements to catch Championship leader Marquez

With four wins from four MotoGP starts in the current 2014 season, Marc Marquez has stepped into a new dimension and continues to re-write the record books practically every time he swings his leg over the Repsol Honda RC213V and while his closest rivals continue in their game of catch up the question remains: Can anyone take the fight to Marquez?

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Bridgestone Corporation

Before the 21-year-old came along there were a number of ‘aliens’ in the paddock with current teammate Dani Pedrosa, and Movistar Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo two of the main protagonists while Casey Stoner has now hung up his boots after securing two MotoGP World Championships. This year however, while the battle for the lower steps of the podium are up for grabs, the top step is nearly draped in orange and red before the lights go out at each round of the championship.

The closest to Marquez over the first four rounds of this year is arguably Valentino Rossi who finished second last time out at Jerez, Spain and the Movistar Yamaha rider continues to improve his pace on the YZR-M1 using a new-spec chassis in Spain that allowed him use the hard Bridgestone front tire, which enabled him to lap consistently and keep Marquez somewhat honest, if you consider a gap of just over a second keeping your opponent honest!

Before the 2014 season began the main riders fighting with Marquez in his debut year were his teammate Dani Pedrosa and also factory Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo. However, this year is a whole different story with Pedrosa continuing to lag behind his younger teammate and Lorenzo has had a disastrous start to his season and fans would be forgiven for thinking that the two-times MotoGP champion has already given best to Marquez with Lorenzo happy just to finish races and currently sits fifth in the championship and 65 points behind.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Bridgestone Corporation

While in the Moto2 championship Marquez didn’t have it all his own way but still managed to take the title in his second year. Two riders who regularly battled against him were Stefan Bradl and Pol Espargaro with the former beating him to the 2011 Moto2 championship while 2013 Moto2 championship winner Espargaro narrowly missed out to Marquez in the fight for the 2010 125cc title. But the MotoGP class is another story altogether and the partnership of Marc Marquez and Repsol Honda is already drawing comparisons to that of Mick Doohan and Giacomo Agostini who both completely dominated in their respective eras.

Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa
Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa

Photo by: Repsol Media

When a rider and machine clicks together, adding to that the weight of the biggest team on the grid, the partnership is deadly as Marquez is proving, but his dominance is taking MotoGP into a whole new dimension. The HRC engineers seem to have given Marquez the perfect machine but some are already picking apart details regarding electronics and how they are giving Marquez the edge. Is the championship leader using too many rider aids? Or is he just able to adapt the best to the new Bridgestone tires that were introduced this year?

Time will only tell on who, if anyone, can beat Marquez on raceday but he is currently in a world of his own. He has shown a clean pair of heels to his rivals so far but the gap is shortening and with the next three rounds at LeMans this weekend and onto Mugello and Catalunya; Rossi, Pedrosa and Lorenzo are sure to be confident in their abilities to take the fight to the championship leader. Marquez hasn’t won at those three tracks yet on a MotoGP bike either so there maybe hope for his rivals but no one is holding their breath just yet.

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About this article
Series MOTOGP
Article type Analysis
Tags bradl, espargaro, hatch, honda, lorenzo, marquez, pedrosa, rossi, yamaha