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GP Week : Issue 187
29 GPWEEK.com // 29 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: >>> MOTOGP FEATUrE Nine down, nine to go ... the us GP marked the end of the first half of the 2013 MotoGP season. A season that will live in history. We’ve seen perfection fall short when Jorge Lorenzo crashed out; raw courage when he returned two days later to race at Assen; more of the same from him and his compatriot Dani Pedrosa riding injured in the US. We’ve seen former Victor Ludorum Valentino Rossi struggle and falter somewhat as he strives to regain his former mastery in his return from Yamaha. We’ve seen Cal Crutchlow become ferociously fast. Above all, we’ve seen the arrival of the best rookie in three decades, as Marc Marquez smashes one after another of the formerly Fast Freddie Spencer’s records of the early 1980s. And best of all, as everyone goes off on their summer hols, the rest of the year will start with three people (and maybe even four) in a position to lift the title. Each of the top three has one zero score. Making it equal footing. Only one of them has finished on the rostrum every other time. Marquez has three wins, equal with Yamaha rival Lorenzo and one more than Pedrosa (the missing race was Rossi’s). His tally of top-three back-up finishes means he leads Pedrosa by 16 points and Lorenzo by 26. The top three are the elite of Spain; the same national superiority prevails in Moto3. Only in Moto2 is there a non-Spanish title leader ... and Briton Scott Redding’s position is under threat from Spain’s Pol Espargaro. In MotoGP the advantage has swung to and from between the riders and between Honda and Yamaha. By the mid-point things seemed to favour the former – even at circuits thought to be “Yamaha tracks” the highly polished and very accelerative RC213V Honda is able to win. Lorenzo has been agitating for a seamless-shift gearbox to match that of the Honda, and it’s been confirmed that there’s one on the way. Too little too late? Marquez has brought something special to a class in danger of complacency. Aggression. Combined with skills and racecraft seldom seen more than once every ten or 15 years, he deser ves his current lead. His expectation was to spend his first year learning, and make a title attack next season ... he would still be the youngest in history, as long as he ties it up