Crunching The Numbers: How Does Marc Marquez' First MotoGP Test Compare?

Marc Marquez was heaped with praise in the media after his first laps on the Repsol Honda at Valencia on Wednesday. So much praise that some MotoGP fans grew sceptical, questioning whether ending the test over a second behind his new teammate and fastest man Dani Pedrosa was the great result that was being touted by the press. After all, Marquez had finished just 7th, behind all of the prototype riders from last year, and that was without the presence of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi on the factory Yamahas.

So who is right? Are the media right to be excited about the times Marquez posted on Wednesday, or are they still blinded by his performance on Sunday, winning the Moto2 race from the back of the grid? Are the fans correct to point to his position, behind the satellite bikes despite being on a factory Honda? One answer may lie in the times.

Perhaps the best way of measuring Marquez' debut is by comparing his times with those set by others on their first test in MotoGP. Comparing the times directly should be pointless, as conditions varied significantly between the tests in recent years. A more appropriate way of comparing times is to compare the difference beween the fastest time posted by each rookie, and the fastest time set at the test that year. The fastest time set at each test then acts as a benchmark, with each rookie measured against that, instead of directly between years. In theory, the better a rider, the closer they will be to the fast guys from the very start. The table below makes that comparison for the highest-profile rookies who entered the class  since 2009.

That comparison clearly vindicates Marquez. Though the young Spaniard is over a second off the time of Pedrosa, that is four tenths closer to the front than any other rider making their debut in MotoGP. Cal Crutchlow was the next fastest man on his debut, getting within a second and a half of Jorge Lorenzo in his first test in MotoGP. Compare Marquez to Marco Simoncelli, a rider closing in on MotoGP success before his tragic death at Sepang, and Marquez comes out even more favorably: where Marquez was over a second off the pace, Simoncelli was nearly two seconds slower than fastest man Casey Stoner in November 2009. Compare Marquez against Stefan Bradl, the man he lost the 2011 Moto2 championship to, and the Spaniard is even better, Bradl ending the 2011 Valencia test 2.3 seconds slower than Dani Pedrosa's fastest time that year. Crutchlow and Simoncelli both went on to podium in their second year in MotoGP, and Bradl came pretty close in his first year in the class.

Yet there are even more factors that speak out in Marquez' favor. Marquez is not just fastest in relative terms, he is fastest in absolute terms as well. And this is not just down to the 1000cc bikes being faster than the old 800s, especially now they have an extra year of development on them: if you order the times set by the fastest rider each year, then Pedrosa's 2012 lap is actually the slowest of the lot, over half a second slower than his time from 2011, four tenths off the pace of Casey Stoner in 2009, and three tenths slower than Jorge Lorenzo's fastest lap from 2010. That is down to the conditions: in previous years, the test has taken place on a dry track, though with often cold and windy conditions. By the time the track closed on Wednesday afternoon in 2012, the Valencia circuit was almost completely dry, with still just a few damp patches in the first corner.

It is true that Marquez is the only rider to have a factory bike - with the exception of Alvaro Bautista, who went straight into the factory Suzuki team and ended the test just under a second slower than his erstwhile teammate Loris Capirossi - and the Honda is clearly an outstanding bike. Just how much faster the factory RC213V is than the satellite bikes ridden by the other rookies on their debut is a bone of contention: at the first test for each rider, most of the work being done is familiarizing the rookie with the machine and the tires, helping them adapt their riding style to the bike and tires and get their heads around a far more complicated MotoGP machine. Little time is spent chasing an ideal set up, and looking for the final few tenths which a factory bike might offer, that only comes once the season gets underway.

But the real measure of how impressive Marquez' time was comes when you take into account just how quickly Marquez got up to speed. The Spaniard went out late on Wednesday afternoon, the second day of testing, having missed all of the first day and the morning of the second due to the weather. He completed 28 full laps, his 28th and final being the lap that brought him back to the pits, in four exits. By any measure, Marquez' debut was severely curtailed by the weather.

That was not the case for riders in previous years. Simoncelli, for example, had two full days of testing spread over three days, completing a total of 165 laps. Crutchlow had 133 laps spread out over two full days, while Bradl had a 'mere' 123 laps in two days. Even Andrea Iannone has had more laps, a full test at Mugello earlier in the year, and 96 laps in different conditions at Valencia. Though it is impossible to say how fast Marquez would have been had he also had two full days of testing, the margin by which he improved his time on each exit suggests there was much more still to come: 1:35.846, 1:35.201, 1:34.522, 1:33.403.

The enthusiasm with which the press reported on Marquez' MotoGP debut was not just hype, meant to boost the profile of another Spanish rider who has been carefully groomed for success, with the backing of Spanish oil giant Repsol. Watching Marquez learn his way around a MotoGP bike in just a few laps was impressive enough, but when you stack his numbers up against any entrant into the class, it is clear that it is a very special talent we are watching.

Rookie times at end of first MotoGP test:

Year Rider Bike Time Best time Fastest rider Diff. Previous
2012 Marc Marquez1 Honda 1:33.403 1:32.322 Dani Pedrosa 1.081  
2010 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha 1:33.483 1:32.012 Jorge Lorenzo 1.471 0.390
2012 Andrea Iannone2 Ducati 1:33.833 1:32.322 Dani Pedrosa 1.511 0.430
2010 Karel Abraham Ducati 1:33.793 1:32.012 Jorge Lorenzo 1.781 0.700
2009 Hector Barbera Ducati 1:33.787 1:31.900 Casey Stoner 1.887 0.806
2009 Marco Simoncelli Honda 1:33.856 1:31.900 Casey Stoner 1.956 0.875
2012 Bradley Smith3 Yamaha 1:34.538 1:32.322 Dani Pedrosa 2.216 1.135
2009 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 1:34.163 1:31.900 Casey Stoner 2.263 1.182
2011 Stefan Bradl Honda 1:34.142 1:31.807 Dani Pedrosa 2.335 1.254
2009 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda 1:34.821 1:31.900 Casey Stoner 2.921 1.840

1: Marquez posted just 28 full laps due to the rain
2: Iannone also had a prior test on the Ducati at Mugello earlier in the year
3: Smith posted just 43 full laps due to the rain


Year: The year of the rider's first test
Rider, Bike: The name of the rider and the manufacturer of the bike they were riding
Time: The fastest time they set throughout the test
Best time: The fastest time set by any rider at that test
Fastest rider: The name of the rider setting the fastest time at that test
Diff: The difference between the fastest lap set by the rookie, and the fastest time sat at that test
Previous: The difference of differences, i.e. how much slower each rookie was than the fastest rider at the test the rookie made their debut

Times were compared for the tests for the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, as those were the data which were most readily available.

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David you out did yourself with this one! Quantifying something so variable over so many years into a meaningful chart of information is very impressive indeed! My hats off to you my friend. And it really puts MM's lap time into a whole new perspective!! Thanks

camchannell, clicked the wrong button. This was aimed at David.

Seriously... I know there's a lot of time to kill, but all you gotta do is look at the kid ride. He's fast, really fast.

Give it a break until the flag drops for real and then you can toss all this B.S. out the window.

Unless there's a "First Test Rookie of the Year" award I'm unaware of... then by all means, have at it.

Marquez is a talent. No question. But I think the jury is still out on how good he is. And, sorry David, I'm not sure, unless I have missed something, what this comparison really shows. For example, how relevant is it to include data from the 800 era. With the tyres that were being used then, for example, many would argue they were far more difficult to master than the 1000s. And even in 1000 era, Honda's gearbox has made a huge difference in the ride-ability of the bike. And the tyres have become easier to come to terms with too. And what about changing track conditions? But most of all, how do we know how hard Dani was trying. Why, without Jorge (and Casey) at the test, would he feel the need to really go for it and show his hand. Remember it was Dani who was showing Marc the lines in the early laps. And the Dani we are seeing now - winner of more races than the 2012 MotoGP Champion, is a more canny guy than I for one had previously thought. Marc's good though. Roll on 2013.

I think your over-thinking this a little. The comparisons are actually very good. If you are mapping the rookies' performance to the fastest rider at a given test, you are getting a sense of the speed of the rookie. The fastest rider's time at any test and track will contemplate track conditions, pavement, track,tires and displacement. The gap, or lack there of from the front, will give an idea as to how the rookie performed.

This is a better way to do it than to take Nickey Hayden's time on a 990 with Michelins in 2003 and compare it to Jorge Lorenzo's time on an 800; you would get no real insight doing it that way.

imho of course.

PS, like KRKA said, this all goes out the window when the lights go out. Ben was fast this year in lots of QPs and practices but saw himself get psyched out when he wasn't being boobie trapped by the Tuning Forks.

PPS, what the hell else do we talk about until February?!!!

The table is a good comparo but would be nice to see ,Rossi,stoners and Jorge's debut times also since they went on to be world champs in pretty quick order. You could add to that pedrosa and Hayden also since the former in an alien and the latter is a world champ. Even Doohan would be interesting.

Good article nonetheless. Food for thought.

I started at 2009 because I had easy access to all of the data from that period (it's all on the website, and as I was at the test myself, I have the full timesheets for each rider). I couldn't find the data from before 2009, and so I didn't post it. I really wanted the times for Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Stoner for comparison.

I find it hard to believe with Marquez having been apart of the repsol team for the last two years that this is his first time on the bike your thoughts

He may have been with Repsol, but he wasn't with Honda. I watched his first few laps from the side of the track, and I can assure you, those were his first laps with a MotoGP bike. He missed a gear change, was adapting to the bike, and changing his style.

Even before he even rode the bike, you could see it was his first time. He looked like a teenager on a promise, like his girlfriend had phoned him and told him tonight was the night. It was almost pornographic, the way he looked at that bike. That only happens before they get to ride the bike, in my experience.

Enough said and thanks for taking the time to answer

Looking at the data and comparing Bradl and Simoncelli vs Barbera and Abraham and all I can say is that how fast you are at the Valencia Test doesn't correlate to how good of a MotoGP rider you will be. And don't forget that Barbera/Abraham were on Ducati's which is generally considered not nearly as competitive as the Honda's Bradl and SuperSic were on.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. Are/were Bradl and Simoncelli better riders than Barbera and Abraham, or are you saing the opposite?
I don't think you can really compare riders on the Ducatis with the others. Getting to grips with it certainly won't be as easy as the Hondas or Yamahas.

I've no doubt that Marquez is fast, but I think you're glossing over the difference between a factory and satellite bike a little too much - Marquez moves into a team with an excellent crew alreday, taking the place of one of the fastest riders ever. I'm sure they simply started at Casey's base settings and let Marquez ride that bike. He's starting with one of the top 3 fastest racebikes in the world, with a crew that helped their last rider win a championship last year and several races this year. Setup time or not, he started with a much, much better base than anyone else on your list. Again, it's obvious Marquez is a great talent, but let's not forget that he certainly has a bike and team that can get him much nearer the front than anyone else had.

And this is why I posted elsewhere Rea's experience. Casey's bike, Casey's crew, in the hands of a very experienced and talented World Superbike rider = nowhere near Marquez' tiny gap to the front. And that was after a full day of testing. I'm not sure that Rea EVER got this close to Pedrosa's times, even after two full race weekends.

WSBK is another world compared to MotoGP. Moto2 is much closer to the way MotoGP is ridden these days, with a lot of corner speed. The tires are completely different in WSBK as well, as is the way those bikes are ridden. That means what Rea had to do was to "unlearn" a lot the things he's gotten used to in WSBK. Marquez did not have to do that at all.
If anything you should compare Reas times with Crutchlows or Spies, seeing as those two also came from WSBK, and you'll see its much more similar.

True, but a Moto2 bike also has completely different tires, no electronic rider aids, and less than half the horsepower of a MotoGP bike. And it weighs 22 kg less than a MotoGP bike. I think a WSBK machine - with well over 200 horsepower, full rocket ship electronics and 165 kg minimum weight - is far closer to a 157 kg MotoGP bike than a Moto2 bike.

My opinion.

Gahhh, I hate the off-season.

I feel like gaging on all the Marquez worshipping already.

As mentioned above, the tyres were significantly more difficult to come to terms with in 2011 and earlier so it is hardly comparable to rank those riders rookie tests against a rookie now.

It is also worth noting that those other riders were all riding satellite bikes and were no doubt under instructions to not go out and bend them on day 1. Marquez would have been under instruction to go and put in the fastest lap possible to feed the media frenzy.

In my opinion the real eye opener is Iannone who was only 0.43 off Marquez on a bike that finished no where near the front on race day. If we want to see how much faster the Honda is then the Ducati all we have to do is look at qualifying for race day.

Pedrosa 1:30.8
Hayden 1:32.5
Rossi 1:32.8

So the Honda is nearly a 2 second faster bike than the Ducati which really puts into perspective how Marquez did in comparison to the real star of testing Andrea Iannone.

The problem is Andrea Iannone is not the lead character in the Dorna/MotoGP Soap Opera. Therefore regardless of how good he is you and the other Journo's will still just repeat the same mistakes made for the last decade and spend all your column inches on just one rider and forsake all the others who have had to try harder with less to get there and be successful.

I fail to see why we should applaud journalism that is so unbalanced and manipulated by "group think".

Iannone did an outstanding job at Valencia, no doubt about it. But you are wrong about one thing: he is being lined up to be a star in the Dorna soap opera, after all, he is the next fast Italian, and needed to sell TV rights in Italy.

As for myself, there is no doubt Iannone is fast, but he lacks consistency. The briefest glimpse at his results sheet will show that. The late, lamented used to call Marco Melandri MRNG, Marco the Random Number Generator, because he was capable of winning one week and finishing 12th the next. Iannone fits as his rightful heir in that respect.

MRNG = awesome!

And one of the fun things about Moto2 this season was trying to predict whether Iannone would be first or 21st. Sometimes he was both in the same race.

I'm pretty sure that Dorna arranged the weather to make for the most dramatic possible ending to the season. They sent Rossi to the track where they were sure it would rain on day two, thus ensuring that no one would know exactly how Rossi would do on the M1, and told Dani and Marc to keep the gap small enough to generate excitement but not too close, thereby avoiding generating suspicion that the numbers were rigged.

But I'm too smart. I see right through their little shenanigans.

p.s. For everyone who keeps talking about the difference in the machine, the crew, etc., in the Repsol camp as a way of explaining Marquez' speed, how do you explain how much faster (relative to Pedrosa) he is than Rea was?

Iannone has had several days of testing on the Ducati, the Bridgestones, and top-level electronics.

Marquez has about 45 minutes on a MotoGP bike in his life. And those were on a track that was never completely dry.

if Bridgestone had indeed used the tires on which the Hondas set the best times during testing, instead of imposing a new tire a few races into the season.
Nothing wrong with introducing a new tire, but why imposing it and forbidding the old one on which the bikes have been developped?

Bridgestone/Dorna politic was the major reason why Honda were struggling with the new front tyre. Could this be the final straw that made Casey walked? It's interesting to notice that both times he won the championship, Dorna had to tweak some curveballs into the tyre equation.


Excellent work.

Thanks- my subscription is certainly assured for the foreseeable future.

You are the man.....

John in New Hampshire

How many of those Rookies debuted on a bike with a seamless shift gearbox said to be worth (at least) 0.2 a lap? I think the difference between the factory RCV213v and other bikes is vast. MM is a massive talent but don't gloss over that he's sitting on one of the finest Premier class weapons ever produced in the history of Racing.

Look at Karel Abraham's debut on the sattelite 2010 Ducati, 0.3 from Marquez best time on the 2013 RCV213v. I don't think much can be gained from comparisons this early, but it is good to fire up debate, sure.

I do think that MM is a worthy successor to Casey though, and I wouldn't want to see anyone else in that seat. MM is so exciting to watch and a bit mad, just like Simoncelli was and how MotoGP misses his brightly burning talent. I can't wait to watch MM shake up the established order in 2013.

The Ducati has the Seamless Shift gearbox also.
Honda went to the seamless shift to smooth it's corner entry.

If I remember correctly, Casey and Dovi said yes and Dani said no during testing.

Also, if MM is sitting on "one of the finest Premier class weapons ever produced in the history of Racing"....why do they only have just one only World Championship and then only with the talents of the finest Premier class weapons (Casey Stoner) as the rider?

I think the adulation of HRC has been misplaced and misplaced for many years now.

The Yamaha is a far, far better bike, only lacking outright HP and a rider with the cojones to ask for a screamer engine.

Well - Casey himself says it is the best sorted MotoGP bike he ever rode. (at least the '11 version!) so excuse if I believe him, and not you about Yamaha. Karel didn't have a seamless shift gearbox when he debuted as a Rookie on the '10 Ducati and got a time within .3 of what Marquez rode on the RCV just now - that was my point...

Fair call .......but HRC doesn't have the WC's on the board like Yamaha does in the last few years. Hey, I'm a Stoner and HRC fan, but HRC just does hasn't had the success like Yamaha has.

I do not think we can make a good conclusion based on the last few years. Here's the winning constructor list for the last ten years:

2011 MotoGP Honda
2010 MotoGP Yamaha
2009 MotoGP Yamaha
2008 MotoGP Yamaha
2007 MotoGP Ducati
2006 MotoGP Honda
2005 MotoGP Yamaha
2004 MotoGP Honda
2003 MotoGP Honda
2002 MotoGP Honda

Honda is the winning constructor for the last two years, so is it fair to say that Yamaha just doesn't have succes like Honda?

You just can't compare Yamaha with Honda in constructor titles or in World Gran Prix success in general, Honda is in the league of his own. Honda has nearly twice as many victories and titles.

Nice to read a R0$$! free article!

Great that the future talent of MotoGP is getting a run.

Ianonne's speed, as well as Dovi's is pleasing to see.

Every intelligent (<=> intellectual) human being sees nothing in this article but pseudo-logic and "blabla" (the need of the site owner to have enought "clicks" by the so called "supporters").

The quality of the logic in this article can be compared to a deduction like: "Lets analyse the brightness of the sun an its consequences for the earth in terms of: ´is it day or night?`...".

This article does and says nothing because it has to ignore (they are simply not ascertainable) variables, causalities and oversimplifies to an absolutely immature degree.

Congratulations ... (P.S. Mathematics is not the explanation of life/truth, it´s just the fundament - precise architecture - of the universe; therefore please don´t try to explain every fact in life - even first laps/times on a MotoGP bike - just with numbers ... there is so much more behind/on top of it).

let me guess. you must drink skinny mocha lattes and hate iPhones for their being a closed-source platform instead talking about designing your own software but really just running your mouth...

if you don't like the content feel free to contemplate your navel elsewhere.

The point of motorcycle racing is to go faster than everyone else. The contest is purely mathematical: the rider who arrives at the end of a set distance in the shortest time wins.'re the owner of crash.nut and you're jealous of this fantastic site and have come to reduce the comments to the same level as your site ????
It's not gonna work. LOL :O)

First of all, I have to acknowledge David's splendid statistic review, but, IMHO, these first tests are not very trustworthy in order to learn whether a rider will be up front or not.

Different bikes (I've read somewhere that Marc registered his best laps on a 2012 bike and not on the 2013 unit, which will be heavier), and short dry track time available made these tests just a press preview to take the first pictures of the riders on their new bikes for the next season.

I usually rate Marc as a great rider, but I would like to take some time before I dare to place my bet in his favour. The jump from Moto2 to MotoGP is very big, and I want to watch him on his final bike and see if he is able to keep Dani's, Jorge's and Crutchlow's paces.

On the other hand, being able to lap just one second slower than a lap record breaking Dani Pedrosa is quite impressive, no doubt.


but very high quality, interesting BS.
David never said he had the absolute accurate analysis but like most of his neutral(ish) 'make your own mind up' reporting you can make of it what you will. For me, it’s nice to see the effort he makes.
The key question for me is how hard DP was trying – he either wasn’t (keeping his powder dry), or he was (wanting to make MM understand who was boss). This will give us all something to ponder over the winter.
The partial answer, for me, are Stoners times. He was on a different bike and tyres, but if you look at the times over recent years they aren’t that far out and it probably tells a story that fits the track too. Stoner wasn’t known for slacking, he made laps count.
The JR analogy fits too – he was being sensible and had an eye on a future contract/opportunity not a wish to crack on regardless, which MM clearly does at any time he is on track (and gets much criticised and penalised for it too).
This article may not qualify as highly as Einstein’s theory, but it isn’t about a Hadron Collider either. Just an Aragon (ant) Collider.
Sorry – couldn’t resist.
I thought that the Qatar podium prediction was a bit of a joke/high aspiration. I don’t now. Hayden’s joke about MM needing a couple more years in Moto2 said a lot too. There’s going to be a lot of physical and mental training going on over these next few months. 2013 could be good.

You and others are correct to point out that Pedrosa's times are the real question mark here. Just how hard was he trying, and was it hard enough to put the times in context?

Pedrosa said that most of what he had been testing was where to put the extra 3kg of weight on the bike for 2013 (minimum weight goes up from 157 to 160kg). To make that test useful, he has to push pretty hard to see how the weight affects the front tire, the suspension, the braking loads, the acceleration. You can't do that if you are not circulating fast enough, you have to be pushing fairly hard. Could Pedrosa have gone faster? Probably. Was he taking it easy? I don't believe so.

It seems reasonable to speculate that on a completely dry track, and with plenty of time to test, Pedrosa would have gone faster, and pushed hard for a fast lap. However, it would also seem reasonable to speculate that with more track time on a dry surface, Marquez would have gone faster too. I don't think the gap would have increased between the two in that case, but I have no evidence for that.

I think it's also reasonable to assume that Pedrosa was trying just as hard as he usually does during testing. I think most of the pros have a "testing" setting, a "race" setting and a "brain in the toolbox, it's rostrom or hospital" setting in their minds - and I think they're pretty consistent within that rider's skull.

In other words, I'd suggest that this comparison to Pedrosa's testing time is valid against any other Pedrosa testing time.

I'm not a mind reader, though.

I think the primary focus in Dani's mind was leaving the test uninjured. He's just finished a season with no injuries and a high number of wins as a result of not getting hurt. I can't imagine he was interested in pushing for a really fast time on a not quite dry track with the sole prize of turning a fast time, especially since Lorenzo and Rossi were not there to compare against. With how he performed this season, especially the 2nd half, he has nothing to prove to anybody.

Marquez seems to have only one speed while on track regardless of if it is practice, QP or the race: dangerously fast. He also needs to make as much use of each session as possible to learn the bike, tires, brakes and electronics. He had no reason to not push hard and every reason to. And given that he went faster in each out he was trying.

Given those opposing viewpoints I think Dani could have gone a lot faster (as would Jorge and maybe Rossi) while Marc didn't have much left in his quiver (yet). Add Lorenzo and Rossi to the mix and MM would be 9th. Include Stoner and its 10th. Its a long way to the podium.

That said, it would be nice to have written about other impressive rookie debuts too. The series is already suffering from the media having focused on one rider above all, let's not repeat the same mistake.


Well done David.

Still, as we all know (often forgotten here though) there are no certainties in this sport, that's why I keep watching. We'll see at the end of next season, and the one after that how good he is at this level; winning a junior championship is NOT a guarantee of success at senior level.

He's damn fast and an excellent racer, time will tell....

Roll on next year, I'm bored now there's no racing; have to go back to decorating the house at weekends.

Roots to branches. I anticipate the junior class as much as I do the senior class.
Marquez has been astonishing. Was it Estoril some years back in 125. Was it Red Bull rookie.
Okay. Marc is a little shy of Stoner's debut test on a 3rd tier sat bike,but he is the real deal in terms of raw tallent.
Test times aside,don't expect Marquez to play to the media,roll out 'Sorry I'm L8' stuff. Don't expect Iannone to pander to the hype either.
Off topic for sure, but what I would like to know about is Audi/Ducati/Preziosi.
Preziosi got crucified for comming up with the most powerfull bike the game has ever seen,encompassing technology I ride every day. Desmo vs unobtainable pnuematic junk.
Man,am I looking forward to supporting the Ducati team next year. Its been a long 2 years of misery.
Taglioni Desmodue,Bordi Desmoquatro(With MV Agusta now),Preziosi Desmosedici. I like it.

I can already see this site is going to become oh so very entertaining after Marquez's first time beating Rossi. Which will hopefully be at Qatar.

Either way, nice article. I don't normally enjoy idle specualation but since it's the offseason we don't really have anything else...

While there's not doubt the young fella has shown great performance, all the hype is a bit over the top.
Interesting enough, it's a bit like Valentino Rossi in the late 90s, when jumping to 250cc, then to 500cc. The difference is, Rossi had that "bigger than life" and enjoyable and funny "juvenile aura" to complement his outstanding performances, which made it easy to sugar coat everything and make him 'appealing'.

Call me sceptic but, looking at the current state of the class, the whole economy crisis thing, the departure of Stoner and Rossi going old very soon, it looks like Dorna and "the bigger interests in the sport" are desperate to have a "new star" (or a new goose that lays golden eggs). It feels like M.Marquez is almost forced down our throat.

M.Marquez may have the speed, the titles, the sponsors and everything in his favor (a whole infrastructure behind him), but the way some victories and atitude on track came up (Wilairot, Luthi, Espargaro, Corsi), I still think the kid needs to work a LOT on his behaviour at the track before going all out in Qatar next year.
Simoncelli had some sort of excuse for the type of persona he had, some big stupid mistakes but with something that I would consider with inocence, almost naivety. M.Marquez doesn't have that, on some of those episodes a borderline dangerous side was shown.
The rookie rule being conveniently pulled out on his purpose, when other riders were prejudiced in recent past by it, makes it all the more "forced" (sorry but that's how I feel about it).
Let's see how Pedrosa and Lorenzo (two big complainers on "dirty moves") will see Marquez next year.

And let's not forgive than in this last season the chosen one send off kalio too, in the upcoming season if the chosen on blast off his own teammate or lorenzo looks like than will be the harakiri for marq.

Much hype around the guy, well it's normal than some persons start to dreaming about this guy, his only problem is than the guy didn't recognize his mistakes when he blast off another rider.

What happend than SuperSic cause the problem in LeMans with pedrosa, all the world wanted to burn Sic or sending him to execution, after that SuperSic Apologizes, late but apologizes and started to change, Marq how many troubles causes to another riders, well starting with wilaroit, luthi, espargaro, kalio, corsi, then you have 5 troubles the guy cause, ¿apologies? falses apologies or inexplicable excuses.

Man, Stoner Punch against de puniet in Le Mans and people wanted to send Stoner to his ranch, Sic and Stoner has cause less troubles than marq cause in one year.

Also the chosen one will be not the only guy to watch, Bradl has do the things good and he will start to receive support from HRC, The disappointment will come if marq do an elias in the leader class, but only time will tell.

It's good to dreaming and start to flying, but first the foot in the earth.

I'm not a huge MM fan (I'd like to be, but I need to see him consider other rider's safety a bit more first), and I agree that there's certainly some hype around his arrival in the top class that can only be proven to be warranted or not as we actually make our way through the upcoming season, but let's not say it's just complete hype and artificial manufacturing of excitement on the part of Dorna, fan clubs, blogs and motorcycle online sites, etc. He did finish the season by winning from the very back of the grid in a very competitive class on a bike that isn't generally considered to be any better than many others on the grid. Whether I like the guy or not he's earned at least some of the hype.

That Mr. Emmett should focus an article on him as testing for the new season starts hardly exposes bias or hype on his part. He's following one of the biggest stories in MotoGP at the moment. Whether the story falls flat half way through the upcoming season is anyone's guess, and that's what we're all doing here - coming up with the best guess we can, because it beats doing all those other things I'm actually supposed to be doing right now.

This stuff is what keeps the off season interesting, right? If the only fun would be the mere 15 hrs of actual racing we get to enjoy in a year, I'd pick another hobby.

There is more to being a star in any sport than just being a winner.

It will never be fully realised how big a loss Simoncelli was; he was an exciting racer, and had bags of charm and fun about him; was a good looking lad with the big wild hair. None of the last of that list made him faster or better, but once you'd seen him or heard him interviewed, he was never forgotten.

He was truly a 'star' in the making and the sport misses him.

I don't see anyone else on the horizon who has that star quality, even though there are some excellent riders (all the obvious names). Dorna must be crossing everything that the Rossi gives them a couple of good years respite, even if its only a few wins.

And Luc, yes, as Lorenzo is not on the team, there is one 'certainty'; he will be shouting from the rooftops at the 1st sign of the MM antics.

By only going back to 2009 and not just a few years further, that would give a much more highly accurate comparison - this time span becomes misleading & unfair. It excludes the fabulous debut of Casey Stoner. Let's "assume" - always dangerous, I know - but in this case quite valid - that the 990cc bikes are a "better" comparative yardstick than the 800's are to the present 1,000cc Senior Class bikes.

If you want to show a "Rookie" who was really FAST straight out of the blocks, you simply can't go past Stoner's first ride on the Pons Honda RC211V @ Valencia in 2005 in Testing for 2006 ...

As with Marquez, having never been on a Senior Class machine ever before, Stoner lapped @ only 0.64 seconds behind the fastest rider of the entire 2005 Test!

To put that into perspective:- Marquez @ Valencia also - but in 2012 on the 1 x Litre Honda, lapped @ 1.081 seconds slower than the quickest rider. Back in 2005 also @ Valencia, Dani Pedrosa was plus 1.1 seconds - but had the advantage of spending time & distance on the "big" bike prior. Stoner shades them all, yes?

There appears to be a definite, distinct & noticeable trend by the GP media hack pack (unintentionally or otherwise) to deify Marquez already & prepare the ground to create a second coming or latter-day Valentino Rossi. The problem with this sort of thing is that for the counterpoint to the HERO - there is the cartoon-ish necessity for the VILLAIN - the role the taciturn & plain-speaking Aussie, Casey Stoner was so unfairly cemented into for having the initial surprise then ongoing temerity to thoroughly beat their media darling Valentino Rossi - as the statistics 2006 - 2012 (when in the same Class) so clearly demonstrate.

Therefore, wiser, more rational & dispassionate heads should be very circumspect as to how & why opinions & reportage end-up as they do & the proven media ability to change & shape public opinion.

Can I give another example? When Casey Stoner set his very first Senior Class Pole in 2006 @ Qatar in only his 2nd race on the 990 - he achieved this despite being stuck in an airport the entire overnight prior & also suffering the 'Flu or a very heavy cold. I cannot recall that these facts or circumstances were even "reported"- anywhere! I only know because of people that were there. Is it any wonder that hardly anyone out in Joe Public Land had heard of or even saw Casey Stoner coming ...???


If you had read the footnote at the bottom of the table, you would have seen that I only used data I had available to me. I had not yet made a complete effort to assemble all of the data for all of the post-Valencia tests. This means that I could not make the comparisons with proven riders such as Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner or Valentino Rossi, which would have made it more interesting.

I realize that there are times for those older tests out there, but I wanted to be as consistent as possible with my data sources, to ensure that they were reliable and comparable. Hence, I only used the data from the results and statistics page. In a couple of days, I shall resume a hunt for more data, and try to go back as far as possible.

As to your point about Stoner at Qatar, if you go back and read the press reports, there was plenty of space given to Stoner's late arrival at Qatar, and the fact that he was sick. I distinctly remember it being mentioned during the Eurosport commentary at the time.

Are we seriously still defending Casey Stoner from how he was treated in the media?? Can we please finally give it a rest. We all get it... Stoner did not get the credit he deserved. But the story ended well!! He got vindicated when he hopped on a Honda, and got vindicated when Rossi's eyes crossed his first time on a Ducati.

Stoner won the war. Can we stop sticking up for a grown man please and move on? Shoot, he doesn't even race motorcycles anymore (unfortunately).

As far as the Marquez hype... I watch motorcycle racing and come to this site because I love to watch super fast dudes on super fast bikes. I like being excited about the races. I like looking forward to the next season. I love the idea of a young kid coming in to the series to shake things up a bit. And I like being excited about it.

Does it mean he is the second coming? No, he has yet to prove anything.

But, it drives me nuts, when things get exciting, that so many people come out of the woodwork to do everything they can to kill the buzz. I appreciate your right and want of accurate facts and discussion, but man, the article clearly stated the facts given are speculative.

So... relax, smile, and enjoy the racing!

- Will MM be subjected to highly intensive media training 'off-season' ?
- Was Casey 'paid off' to retire like Mike Hailwood was?

- I'm all for keeping sponsors happy, especially Tissot :-) but must we be subjected to every single 'high caffeine energy drink' manufacturer out there as a sponsor? I hadn't realised my perceived was 16, again!!!!
Are they the new 'big tobacco' sponsors?

Good article David, even after considering all the known/unknown variables!

//- Was Casey 'paid off' to retire like Mike Hailwood was?

As I understand it, Honda paid Hailwood not to ride when they withdrew from GP. I'm not seeing the parallel with Stoner. Personally I don't believe for a second that anyone made Casey's decision for him.

yes its all very exciting but we all need to come down and be patient for the lights to go green in Qatar and for next years season to unfold. as we know testing is not a great indicator of true form.

all my fellow fan brothers know he is going to be fast, no doubt, his determination says enough but he is prob going to crash too..

I'm an obsessed fan of this sport and love this website to bits but honestly with all the hype produced by all the media and how far ppl are reading into it, it really is a little over the top..

Off-Topic, but is anyone else watching the F1 race from Austin? It looks like an amazing track! Very undulating, loads of sweeping bends, amazing looking stands, big wide track. Few stupid tight hairpin type corners, but looks great other than that. Live stream on (

I usually don't watch F1 but did today and was gladto have. Not only was it a good race but seeing the facility from the perspective of an F1 production was amazing. The track looks awesome with lots of turn variety. The shots of the cars going through the esses was thrilling. I can imagine the angry caterpillar of a first lap GP grid coming through!

And yet another difference between F1 and MotoGP- nobody is building $400million racetracks to attract MotoGP races.


While Marquez' Valencia test time is impressive for a debut ride, it could be argued that a better indicator of race pace be taken from..a race!

To be fair, we can't do this for Marc.

According to the slightly better researched article over on (wash my mouth out) Lorenzo was 1.982 off the pace in his first test. He qualified on pole for his first race at Qatar, 4 months later, 8 tenths faster than WC Stoner.

I looked at the recognised Aliens race debuts in the premier class and their fastest race laps.

Stoner - Jerez 2006(RCV990) - 5th/+0.475
Pedrosa - Jerez 2006(RCV990) - 2nd/+0.049
Lorenzo - Qatar 2008(M1-800) - 2nd/+0.375
Rossi - Welkom 2000(NSR500) - Fastest

What does this prove?..buggered if I know!

Also..we keep hearing that Dorna and MotoGP should be breaking into emerging markets to benefit the sport?

Why has Shanghai been axed?

Wouldn't be anything to do with extortionate sanction fees and a short term blinkered business outlook, would it?

I dont know about this... Shouldn't we be comparing MM's times with rookies who were also straight on factory bikes, not rookies who are on inferior customer bikes. Sorry but that definitely contributes to making Marquez look good.

For example if he jumped on the Ducati that Iannone is on i guarantee he will be setting similar times to what Iannone is doing, not what he is doing on the Honda.

Thats my opinion anyway, you shouldn't really be doing direct comparisons between these bikes.

Someone gave David a drop of water and he's using it to tell us what the ocean is like (with charts!). Let's wait until we at least get to the coast, yes?

Then again we don't have much else to think about :)