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Marquez - the man to beat at Aragon

Marquez - the man to beat at Aragon

Marquez is no stranger to drama and chaos at Aragon and he definitely has a score to settle...

With nineteen years of experience reporting on MotoGP™ for Motorcycle News, MotoGP™ Commentator Matthew Birt knows the Championship inside-out. For the 2015 season he joins the team to bring you exclusive news and opinion from inside the paddock.

I know I said last week that I was giving up making predictions based on the fact that half of the last six podium places in MotoGP have been taken by Danilo Petrucci, Bradley Smith and Scott Redding.

If you backed those three for podium finishes in Silverstone and Misano then I assume you are reading this from your new home in Barbados, waiting for your butler to season a lobster while that newly opened bottle of 1977 vintage breathes.

My crystal ball is now retired but I will say that I expect Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo will find it incredibly difficult to beat Marc Marquez at Motorland Aragon this weekend. It is the Repsol Honda rider’s favourite track and after all the drama and chaos of the last two races, what lies in store?

Marquez is no stranger to drama and chaos at Aragon and he definitely has a score to settle after his brave gamble to stay out on slicks on a wet track one year ago spectacularly backfired.

And he was cast as the villain and vilified for his aggressive riding style in 2013 when he briefly brushed the back of teammate Dani Pedrosa’s RC213V.

Who could forget the contact inadvertently disabling a traction control sensor and sending the permanently unlucky Pedrosa to the moon and back.

Should Marquez stick his nose into the high-pressure title fight unfolding between Rossi and Lorenzo again on Sunday then he will become only the eighth rider in history to reach 50 victories.

That he will achieve such a milestone some six months ahead of his 23rd birthday is why in a decade or so we will be hailing him as one of the true greats.

Marquez is still far enough out of the title chase to not give Rossi and Lorenzo sleepless nights. But the Yamaha men will be well aware that Marquez will be buzzing around them like that annoying fly that won’t leave you alone when you’re trying to eat your favourite meal.

The points he can take off Rossi and Lorenzo will be essential, and it is Lorenzo with more to lose now after he fell in Misano’s manic race and fell 23-points behind Rossi.

Lorenzo is in that precarious position where one more mistake and surely it will be game over for his title aspirations.

And he has found out the hard way in the last two races that perfect planning can sometimes go completely out of the window.

For all of his blistering speed of late, he goes into Aragon with just one win in the last six races. That’s got to be a bitter pill to swallow when it could so easily have been three wins on the spin.

There were times at Silverstone and Misano when he looked unbeatable, yet he walked away from both with a miserable 13-points from a possible 50. Stopping the rot and putting the brakes on Rossi’s charge will be mission number one this weekend.

Rossi certainly won’t be taking anything for granted and I think he will be thrilled to leave Aragon with another podium.

The odds seemed stacked against Rossi returning to winning ways. One of just two times he has missed the podium in the last 22 races came at Aragon last year when he suffered a rare race crash.

And he won’t take any comfort from knowing that the last 13 MotoGP races to be held on Spanish soil have been won by Spanish talent. You have to go all the way back to Casey Stoner in Jerez, 2012 for the last non-Spanish victory in Spain.

If Rossi were to buck that trend on Sunday then it would be a giant leap towards a 10th title and I couldn’t see Lorenzo stopping him.

So for me it’s destination Motorland, but Yamaha’s number 99 really needs it to be Lorenzo’s land again to energise his title challenge.


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