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GP Week : Issue 197
I have a media colleague who covers all manner of motorsport for a large city newspaper. He travels extensively (he had his own spots in pressrooms at Le Mans, Indianapolis and multiple Formula 1 Grands Prix) but in recent times, he has turned his nose up at writing about MotoGP. I find that odd, since he has loved and ridden bikes for as long as I have known him. It’s only recently that he sold what could well be the last in a four-decade long series of motorcyles to grace his garage. I asked him, why no more MotoGP words? “My paper does not cover the Spanish 500cc championship,” came his terse reply. One could forgive him for making such a pronouncement. It is not unknown for one country to dominate 500cc and MotoGP seasons. Britain did it in the late 1950s and early ’60s; the USA did it for a decade in the 1980s and early ’90s; Italy and Australia have done it too, mostly through the efforts of Giacomo Agostini, Valentino Rossi and Mick Doohan. But for right now, it looks like wall-to- wall Spaniards. Good. The fact is, the best riders in the world are from Spain, so are many of the sponsors and with the process shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. It is likely that Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo will battle for this year’s title. The last two World Champions look to be just that bit superior to the rest of the field, and the battle lines appear to be drawn around the brilliant Catalan prodigy and the Mallorcan. Funny thing is, in spite of the pair’s glorious records, both are close to claiming underdog status for this season. It has been widely reported that Marquez does not expect to be 100 percent recovered from the broken leg he suffered in a training fall until well into the season, and there are those not convinced that Lorenzo has shown the speed he will need to beat Marquez when he returns. The Yamaha ace was not right at the sharp end when he was testing at Sepang, and while he topped the sheets on all three days in Phillip Island, there is some thought that a small change to Bridgestone’s tyres, made after the debacle of the Australian race last year, has had a greater affect on him than on some of his rivals. That said, another great struggle is in prospect. There were times last year that the racing between the pair simply suspended belief (witness Silverstone as an example) and both Honda and Yamaha are sparing nothing in the battle this year. Of course, both will have to deal with their teammates are well, but on the form is 2013, it would be a brave man who bet on either Dani Pedrosa or Valentino Rossi consistently getting into the scrap for the lion’s share of the race wins. Of the rest, the possibility of surprise results is there but Marquez and Lorenzo do appear the thoroughbreds of the field. There is much to play for. Marquez has won titles in 125cc, Moto2 and MotoGP, and a 2014 title would see him equal Lorenzo’s four (two in 250cc and two in MotoGP) – at an age six years younger. Already the youngest-ever Champion in the premier category, history may be the only thing he has left to chase at the tender age of 22. This sport has been built on great rivalries; Yamaha vs Honda; Sheene vs Roberts; Americans vs Australians. Yes, the two men at the top of the MotoGP pyramid are from the same country. But there is still an awful lot to play for. MOTOGP >>> PrEViEW something 'Especial' 23 GPWEEK.com // 23 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: