Marc Marquez can’t be ruled out of this year's MotoGP title battle just yet, according to Honda team principal Livio Suppo.
The reigning champion is now 49 points adrift of championship leader Valentino Rossi after crashing out of last weekend’s race at Mugello, his second non-score of the season having also fallen while battling the Yamaha rider for the lead at Argentina.
Suppo, a key member of Repsol Honda since 2010, nonetheless believes talk of Marquez being out of the running for a third successive premier class crown is premature, arguing that the Spaniard’s rivals are likely to suffer similar woes across the course of the season.
It would be more difficult had [Marquez] done sixth or eighth places. Instead, he failed to score when he was fighting for the podium.
Livio Suppo, HRC team principal
“I believe that the championship is still open,” Suppo told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.
“The gap between Marc and the Yamahas is significant, but is the result of two non-scores, not a lack of competitiveness.
“It would be more difficult had he done sixth or eighth places. Instead, he failed to score when he was fighting for the podium.
“For every rider it’s normal that there are problems, even in the best years – last year there were three bad races and in 2013 two non-scores [for Marquez].
“Statistically, this should and could happen to his opponents. Marc must not make mistakes, while the others have two jokers to play.”
Nonetheless, Suppo admits that Honda needs to play its part to allow Marquez to remain in the running, adding: “The priority is to give Marquez the confidence in the bike that he had last year.
“He has the potential to win on any track; we must give him a chance to feel comfortable.”