2014 Jerez Sunday MotoGP, Moto2 And Moto3 Round Up: Spanish Passion, Non-Spanish Winners, And The Alien's Alien

There is always something very special about Jerez. There are few circuits on earth where fans gather to worship at the altar of motorcycle racing which quite such deafening intensity and passion as at the Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain. Fans of motorcycle racing are a passionate bunch wherever you are in the world, but the fans in Jerez add a spice and temperament which lifts the atmosphere to a higher plane. Despite Andalusia's continuing and severe economic recession, crowd numbers for the event were up again from last year, from over 111,000 to 117,001 paying customers on Sunday. Motorcycle racing lives on in Spanish hearts, no matter the state of their wallets.

Unlike last year, however, the Spanish fans were not treated to what is known in the country as a 'Triplete', or a clean sweep of Spanish wins in all three classes. Both Moto3 and Moto2 saw non-Spanish winners, and even the MotoGP podium was not all Spanish for a change. The two junior classes saw their championship chases thrown open once again, unlike in MotoGP. There, Marc Marquez tightened his stranglehold on the championship, extending his reign of terror from three to four races. At every round of MotoGP so far this year, Marc Marquez – Marc the Merciless, as veteran GP journalist Michael Scott refers to him, while some of the less appreciative fans prefer the moniker Murder Marc, after the young Spaniard's occasionally reckless antics in Moto2 – has taken both pole and victory in the first four races of the season.

This was supposed to have been the race that turned everything around. It certainly did for some. In Moto3, Romano Fenati took his second victory, reducing his deficit to Jack Miller to just five points. In Moto2, Mika Kallio broke Tito Rabat's rule of the intermediate class, while extending the hegemony of the Marc VDS Racing team on Moto2. In MotoGP, Valentino Rossi got back on the podium again, and was clearly the best of the rest. But the promise of closer racing in MotoGP, suggested by Marquez after qualifying, proved to be an illusion. It took Marquez three laps to dispose of the competition, and then he was gone. The gap across the line may only have been a second and a half, but the 2013 world champion gave away two seconds of his advantage pulling a stand up wheelie across the line. Marquez' victory was never seriously in doubt.

As ever, it was Moto3 that produced the race of the weekend. A large group concertinaed together and apart, bunching up one lap, then fragmenting into smaller collections a few laps later. At the end it was Romano Fenati who took victory, the Italian following up his win in Argentina with a second at Jerez, the circuit he took his first win in Grand Prix racing. If Fenati's win in Argentina was more down to luck and bad judgment, there were no question marks over Jerez. He dominated the Moto3 race (insofar as that is possible) the way that Miller had dominated Austin. Leading from the front, striking back immediately when attacked, always looking in control. He held off attacks from Efren Vazquez and Alex Rins, and moves to within 5 points of Jack Miller in the championship. There is still an awful lot to play for in Moto3.

The contrast with the Moto2 race could not be greater. Mika Kallio led for every meter of the race, first off the line from pole, and first across the line as winner. It was an impressive victory indeed, domination from start to finish. The Finn is proving the perfect wingman to Tito Rabat, winning when Rabat falters and taking points from Rabat's rivals. Indeed, Kallio himself is turning into Rabat's greatest rival, closing the gap to the Spaniard to just 16 points. Rabat's fourth place puts him 34 points ahead of Maverick Viñales and Dominique Aegerter, and firmly in control of the title race. The Marc VDS Racing team has put a very solid foundation in place for their second run at the Moto2 title.

It was in MotoGP where most was expected, and for the first three laps, it looked like we would have another barnburner on our hands, a little like Qatar. Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo launched serious attacks at Marc Marquez, which the Repsol Honda rider countered with conviction. Once Marquez had pulled a gap, however, the race was effectively over. Marquez was half a second faster than the chasing group led by Valentino Rossi and had built an insuperable lead by the halfway mark.

The measure of just how complete Marquez' domination of MotoGP is can be seen in the lap charts. Even on the laps where Marquez was four or five tenths quicker than the men behind, he was still losing time in the second sector, which runs from halfway between turns 4 and 5, and the speed trap along the back straight. There is only one corner there, yet he was still managing to give between one and two tenths of a second there. The problem, Marquez said in the press conference, was on the entry to the corner. He could feel the bike pushing too much, and didn't feel safe going in at the speed he wanted. So he was almost stopping the bike, then getting it stood up and sliding over the kerbstones seeking extra grip from the rough painted section.

To fans, and even educated followers like myself, it seems entirely illogical to be looking for grip on the kerbstones, so I asked him to elucidate during the press conference. Could he explain to us mere mortals, as it didn't seem to make sense? Sitting beside him, Dani Pedrosa piped up with 'Yes, for us also!' which provoked a bout of laughter from the room. Pedrosa's reputation as dour and humorless is undeserved, though he needs an opportunity and sometimes a little encouragement to let loose. When he does, it is worth it.

When your teammate and rival doesn't understand what you are doing, then your advantage is huge. It is exemplary for what is going on with Marquez at the moment, and a sign of just how far he is moving the sport on. Marc Marquez is dominating his rivals, but unlike Valentino Rossi and Mick Doohan before him, the riders he is dominating are among the very best there has ever been. It is not the fault of either Rossi or Doohan that they dominated in an era of marginally weaker grids; each rider can only race the riders in the championship at the time. Marquez, however, is up against the rider with more premier class wins than any other, the teammate who beat that rider to the championship, and the most talented rider never to win a title.

If anything, Marquez' season is reminiscent of Mick Doohan in 1992. That year, with the introduction of the big bang NSR500, Doohan was wiping the floor with such illustrious names as Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz, Wayne Gardner, Eddie Lawson and John Kocinski. His domination ended in a hospital in Assen, when a broken leg became infected, putting him out of action for a very long time. In 2014, Marquez is reigning imperious over Jorge Lorenzo, a revitalized Valentino Rossi, and Dani Pedrosa, the man on the same bike as him.

Marquez' iron-fisted reign of MotoGP is dampening enthusiasm for the racing. As a seasoned Spanish journalist remarked, 'if you take Marquez out of today's race, everybody would be saying this was one of the best races for years.' At the moment, Marquez' voracious appetite for victory is stifling the sport. What Marquez needs to learn is to toy with the competition, the way that Valentino Rossi did at the start of the MotoGP era. Marquez holds the same advantage which Rossi held over his rivals in 2002/2003. Rossi was forced to show his hand at Phillip Island in 2003, when he was handed a ten second penalty for passing under yellow flags. In the space 16 or so laps, Rossi put 12 seconds into the Loris Capirossi, the man in second. It was Rossi's greatest race, and a sign of just how much he was holding in reserve.

Rossi doesn't hold much in reserve any more, but at least he is back where he was aiming for when he switch back to Yamaha. His dropping of Jeremy Burgess at the end of the 2013 season had been a massive gamble, he reiterated again today, but it was one which was starting to pay dividends. The set up modifications found over the winter allowed him to brake much later, and put Rossi back in the front with, as he calls them, 'the top guys'. On any Sunday, and especially at a track that he loves, Rossi is back in the podium hunt again. At Jerez, that took him to second place, easily holding off attacks from Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa to take his second podium of the season.

Valentino Rossi's biggest problem is that 'the top guys' have been left behind themselves. Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa are no longer in the same race as Marc Marquez, who is now in a class of his own. Any talk of 'aliens' no longer applies, there are simply three categories now in MotoGP: Marc Marquez; the two Movistar Yamaha riders and Dani Pedrosa; and the rest.

Dani Pedrosa came close to deposing Rossi, but lost ground in the penultimate lap when the rear slid out from under him. Pedrosa's form has been the inverse of previous years, starting poorly and having a slow first few laps, and only gradually picking up speed towards the end. That was the result of a change in set up direction, he said after the race, turning to focus on the end of the race, once his weakest point. They had perhaps gone too far in that direction, however, as Pedrosa was simply too slow at the start of the race. Monday's test will be spent trying to redress that, and produce a more balanced package that will work throughout the race.

As for Jorge Lorenzo, the Spaniard is just struggling with tires. Lorenzo blamed his lack of fitness for a lack of results, as he had been forced to miss a large part of his winter training schedule after surgery. At the moment, Lorenzo said, he cannot maintain the same level of effort until the end of the race. What he needs is more training, and then he will be able to be more competitive. He will be better at Le Mans, even better at Mugello, as he trains to cope with the strain of riding a bike and tires he is still not comfortable with.

Lorenzo's team boss Wilco Zeelenberg is not convinced it is solely a matter of fitness. 'I think he's fitter than he was last year,' Zeelenberg told me. 'The trouble is, riding a bike and tires he is not comfortable with is taking much more energy than last year.' Paradoxically, Lorenzo's buttery smooth style uses a massive amount of energy. Lorenzo looks like he's doing things in slow motion, but to move that smoothly and deliberately takes both mental and physical strength. On tires he is not happy with, and with an engine that is less responsive than it was last year due to a liter less fuel, Lorenzo is having to work even harder to make sure the bike is responding smoothly.

Conditions didn't help, especially the extra rubber laid down by the Moto2 class. Lorenzo could not replicate his blistering pace from FP4 because the extra rubber from Moto2 made the track even more greasy than it already was. All this just exacerbated the problem. Lorenzo fought until he was passed by Dani Pedrosa, then dropped right off the pace.

The best battle of the MotoGP race was for fifth, and quite frankly, it could have gone to any one of five riders. It was Andrea Dovizioso who came out on top, blasting Aleix Espargaro into the weeds with superior Ducati horsepower. Espargaro also had to concede to Alvaro Bautista, the Gresini Honda putting in a sterling ride after a very difficult weekend. Afterwards, Espargaro expressed frustration: 'If Dovi was not such a good friend of mine, I would have been tempted to take him out at Turn 1.'

If Aleix Espargaro thought he was frustrated, that is as nothing compared with Cal Crutchlow. The Factory Ducati rider was forced to pull in after suffering massive brake failure. The problem was later identified as some for of fluid overheating, but no solution was forthcoming. Crutchlow was livid, having suffered a mechanical issue in two of the three races he has competed in so far, after being plagued with an electrical problem at Qatar. 'I look p*****d off because I was p*****d off,' Crutchlow said. 'When you work so hard to come back, two weeks of sacrificing every single hour of every day to try and get back, going in the hyperbaric chamber, training, all to do three s**t laps. I’m not happy, sure. I am not happy with the situation,' Crutchlow said. He also pointed out that Dovizioso's finish was also not much to write home about, as the Italian remained 20 or more seconds behind the factory Yamahas and Honda. Things had better start to change soon, Crutchlow hinted.

What doesn't look like changing is Marc Marquez' unadulterated charge on the 2014 championship. It is hard to see anyone but Marc Marquez getting in his own way by crashing or suffering some other mystery mishap. So far – four wins from four poles – Marc Marquez is dominating, and given the fact he missed much of testing due to a broken leg, that is impressive enough as it is. The problem is that Marquez will only get better. We're going to be in for a long year, unless you are a Marquez fan.

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Lorenzo is one of those riders that has to have his head in the game to win. IMO

Marq seems to be able to do anything anytime he wishes.

So Rossi can get in Lorenzo's head and beat him to 2nd, but may never reach Marq.

And Dani will have to pick up the scraps.

I really love MotoGP

It's funny because a few weeks ago people were saying that Rossi may never reach Lorenzo, now is Marquez. I'm not saying he will, it seems impossible to be honest, but I just find it funny how you guys can be so sure about things you don't know.

Nice article David. But your eulogy of Marc 'the maniac' Marquez I am afraid is going to start in all probability with comparisons with you know who. I believe that is totally unnecessary because Marquez is right now first in a league of one. That he will not be there forever is certain. There is this thing called the law of averages. But while he is at the top like this, not only is the racing most enjoyable (I disagree with the idea that his running away at the front makes racing uninteresting) but also post race, his demeanour is most pleasing. Very natural, very boyish and impish. Rossi's celebrations were too elaborate. Lorenzo land thingy was outright disgusting and Stoner's business like approach (which I really admired then and still do) are a contrast to this very simple child like joy that Marquez shows. Good to see Rossi fighting again at least for the second place. I am beginning to wonder if Pedrosa will always be second or third in the World Championship (at the end of the season) and never be World Champ. That would be sad.

Crutchlow? Four races down and already regretting Ducati switch? Seems like it. But right now it is all about Marc Marquez and why not indeed.

As dominant as we've ever seen, but I don't think Marc can start to toy with his opposition just yet. We're not talking about Gibernau here, Give Lorenzo and Rossi an inch and they'll take a mile. Who cares if some ignoramuses think it's boring watching the fastest rider in the world win races, I can remember similar comments when Doohan, Rossi and Stoner were winning regularly. It's the pinnacle of the sport, if you don't get that watch something else.


As Formula One legend Jackie Stewart once said, "You must always drive every lap at your maximum."

A very good way to mess with your opposition's minds is to do exactly what Marquez is doing: Clearing off into the distance as soon as the lights go out.

Amazing stuff from Marquez...though I'm not sure if it's too different from what we've seen from VR or CS in the past. The best package killing every other.

It should be a much more equal fight once Yamaha improves on the brakes and corner entry. I don't have much hope of that happening too soon since I would imagine Yamaha having two (slightly) conflicting development directions: braking and corner entry from Rossi, and electronics, engine power, and corner speed (as well as braking) from Lorenzo.

If I was Lorenzo, I would be looking to get the M1 into last year's shape - rather than getting M1 into 2009-like shape and then adapting himself to ride more like Rossi. So can't blame him...

What do I know, but I suspect you have to take the fight to Marquez and beat him in corner entry rather than trying to take off at the start like a scalded cat and then staying ahead by continuously thrashing the edge grip to within micro-inches of a heart stopping highside...

Now even if VR/JL gets the M1 up there with MM, they still have to deal with his aggression...yay now that's going to be simple indeed.

I guess nobody expected Marquez to go so quickly go from adaptation to winning to dominating. Maybe he will toy with the competition, but only once the title is a much safer conclusion. He still is an HRC rider afterall.

I wonder if Marquez' superiority will have any effect in silly season.

"20 something seconds" back from Lorenzo to 5th, was closer to 30 secs, 27 secs actually - 1 second per lap. That with fully fit riders on factory bikes and Open bikes with a generous advantage, all on spec tyres is atrocious. Bradl's effort or lack thereof on a full factory bike is appalling.

The only positive is Aleix' effort. He should be on a full factory M1.

I don't cheer Rossi as the reality shows a 34yo at the end of his career faster than all but one wunderkind. This doesn't show well for the future, nor a possible freeing up of a factory ride.

Dorna have done all to even things up, yet we still have a massive disparity.

If all it needs to be an Ailiens Ailien to beat a 35 year old has been on a inferior cycle.... well...
I would rather say that Rossi was the star of the show :)

I'd say these spec ECU changes need to come sooner rather than later. HRC always threatens to leave and they do have more cash and political pull than anyone but they need to get over it. I was planning on going to Indy this year to make it my fifth GP to see in person but if its gonna be as boring as the last 20 laps today and the title isn't even close I'll save my money.

To your comment about Bradl's effort. In a post race interview he said that arm pump was the culprit of his poor performance in Jerez. He will be going to the doctors on Tuesday. I would also say his results may be disappointing but not his effort.

"dominated in an era of marginally weaker grids..." yikes, a little strong.

I would argue that Vale actually proves himself a more dominant champion than Doohan over time when you consider that his earlier grids/competitiors were "weaker" than Doohan's, but his results have still been GOAT-easque when you consider how he has had to adapt his riding style to ride and win on 500s, 990s, 800s, and now the 1,000cc bikes and that his recent titles came over Stoner, Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Hayden. He has also been forced to ride around and with electronic gadgets, etc., that take time to learn and trust.

Doohan, whom I have only been able to watch on video, had a decidely harder grid to compete against over the earlier portion of his career but it is interesting that he didn't start his reign of domination until a lot of these guys had decided to retire or were forced out due to injury. He did rack up an impressive number of wins before his first WC, but couldn't get the brass ring until others started to hang it up:
Schwantz: 25 wins, 1 WC and 1st to see his number retired.
Rainey: 24 wins, 3 WCs
Lawson: 31 wins, 3 WCs
Spencer: 27 wins, 3 WCs
Mamola: 13 wins, Second greatest rider to never win a WC (multiple 2nd places in WC standings)
Kocinski: 13 wins, 2 WCs (250 & Superbike)
Gardner: 18 wins, 1 WC
Cadalora: 34 wins, 2 WCs (250/500)
Creville: 15 wins, 2 WCs (250/500)

So while there is no question that MM93 is peerless among a grid full of giants, he is not the first and won't be the last to do so. In 5 to 10 years time, there will literally be another Marquez to contend with, or the next "Rossi" or "Doohan" is not far around the corner yet, we just don't know who that will be! In the mean time, I am just happy to see a rejuvination of my long-time hero VR46, hope to see a DP26 WC and thrilled to have been able to watch MM93 since his days in the support classes and now as Godzilla.

And upon reflection, this post is upsetting in that America's day of ruling the GPs is far far behind us with no hope for a return to glory for a long time to come...

Man, if you wanna bring facts to the table, be sure to fact-check them :)

Lawson has 4 WC not 3.

Cadalora didnt win the 500WC and has a total of 3WC 1x125, 2x250.

Criville won the 500 and 125 not 250cc.

What can i say, it was late! Good points.

Interesting article...
David.. i am a regular reader of your blog & I am enjoying your blog.
About Marquez.. yes I agree he is on his own league.. but still it is too early to crown him to become the next legend.
I am not taking anything from Marquez.. but hey... he is on Honda.. the biggest manufacturer in paddock. Yes.. marquez makes the difference... *look at pedrosa*...
But Pedrosa isn't Rossi or Stoner. Pedrosa is good .. but not "that" good. For me, looks like Pedrosa will becone the best runner up talented in motogp.
Things might get different if Movistar's M1 boys got sorted (especially Rossi's)...
This seems like 2007 season..when Stoner seems invicible..and the rest is history..
Now if Marquez continue his domination in 2014... then how about Marquex switching to Yamaha... to prove it is the man not the machine..
We might see a different story if Marquez starting his Motogp career on Yamaha..
And another wishful thinking.. *what if Rossi never leaves Honda..

Firstly I'll make note that I am a CS fan.

If a switch to another brand is to prove its man not machine then maybe the Duc?

CS did win a WC on a bike that was a pain but had tires better suited to it. Though he still did win races for some time afterwards with no major updates from the racing department when others were on a similar spec.

Someone needs to jump over there and prove it is a winnable machine, and also get rid of all electronics that aren't really adaptable to road bikes…….3D engine mapping depending on the circuit?????? How is that relevant?

And carbon brakes are relevant, slick tires and pretty much everything else on the bikes. Its prototype racing the road is irrelevant

"The set up modifications found over the winter allowed him to break much later [...]"

Don't you mean 'brake' instead of 'break'?
Otherwise, could you explain the meaning of the word 'break' in this context to a non-native speaker?
Thank you in advance.

Oh, and since I'm commenting, I also noticed this one at the very end: "[...] unless you are a Marquez fans."

No problem.
Thank you for writing these great articles.
Once I get some income, I'll donate or take out a subscription. For now, the best I can do is whitelist the website for my ad blocker.

Unless I'm mistaken, this is the first time Rossi has beaten Lorenzo in a straight dry fight since Malaysia 2010. I actually didn't think we would ever see this, but the signs have been there this season with Vale's resurgence and JL's struggles. To be honest, this is the only thing I found interesting about this race. I love how people are so quick to write these guys off, Lorenzo will be back, especially if the new tires help him a bit with edge grip. Just like you can't write Pedrosa off...

It is a joy to watch what Marquez is doing, I don't mind seeing him dominate because it is so entertaining to watch him ride and he is a great personality. Pedrosa, on the other hand, is an utter disappointment, and I still contend that he is happy enough to collect his sizeable paychecks without taking any risks, especially what it would take to beat Marquez in a straight fight. I don't blame him, and the veteran may be right to just watch the phenom do all this spectacular stuff and benefit when "something" happens. But it sure is boring.

Crutchlow going off on Ducati was hilarious! I love the fact that he speaks his mind, he will keep us from missing Edwards too much. But it is almost as though he forgot what he signed up for. He traded in a podium-capable bike for the factory cash and lifestyle, and now he is complaining. He is absolutely right, but until he can beat Dovi (can't get near him now), he should shut his mouth. The Ducati brass know the state of their machinery, have gone to great lengths to ensure they can develop it this year, and don't need one of their mediocre employees publicly humiliating them. Dovi handled it in the right way last year, especially since matters were much worse then.

The other notable quote this weekend was from Jack Miller in pre-race press conference. He was asked about the lifestyle and being away from home, the obvious comparison being Stoner and his apparent dislike. Miller's response was to the tune of it is the best job in the world, I don't have to go to school, and there are lots of girls!!! Watching Pedrosa, Marquez and Rossi shift in their seats with uncomfortable laughter gave an idea of what some of the unspoken rules are in the corporate-sponsored paddock. There are certain things you shouldn't talk about, and Colin Edwards bucked the trend, Simoncelli did it, Crutchlow does it and now we've got another live one coming up through the ranks!

None of is was enough to make it a particularly memorable weekend, but as always, it is very entertaining watching it all unfold. MotoGP>F1.

Rossi won on a dry track in Assen in 2013, Lorenzo was 5th. Now if you factor in injuries, I don't know when both were healthy and Rossi last finished in front of Lorenzo.

You mean 48 hours after Lorenzo landed on his head at 200kph and 24 hours after he was on the operating table for a collar bone? That's my point, it had been ages since Rossi actually beat Lorenzo fair and square, nearly 4 years, and not a single race last year on identical equipment. Laguna last year doesn't count either.

This is a big deal, psychologically for both riders. This is more intriguing to me than anything else that happened in Jerez. Will be looking forward to the next races as there could be some fireworks coming. Rossi still needs to work on his qualifying though...

The only one that comes to mind is the French GP in 2011 (the race with the infamous clash between Dani and Marco)

Thought it was a significant milestone for Rossi on the Ducati at the time turned out to be more of a blip in the saga thou.

Looking at the last few race reviews. Seems you're quickly falling in with the trends of modern Internet journalism, characterized with hyperbole and sensationalism. I think a bit of more balanced view would be better.

Marc Marquez is undeniably talented and versatile rider, he may even be the best among the current crop of MotoGP riders, but just as easy given different circumstances it's very realistic that he may not be, a lot of other factors are at play that may mask the truth. And the truth is simple, nobody is that good.

Marc is riding a clearly superior machine with characteristics and rubber that he feels very comfortable on. I dare to say that on a slightly different Honda, one that would gel better with Dani's characteristics as a rider we could see Marc being outperformed on a regular basis by his teammate. It is often the case when two good riders are on the same bike that a small change would quickly shift the balance of power from one side of the garage to the other. Admit it that last year you thought Rossi was finished and Lorenzo "dominated" him, but some different rubber compounds later a liter of fuel less and everybody (I would admit that me too) have to eat their words from last year.

Good form, luck, politics, charisma and psychic health is also at play, so swept by the hype everybody seems to talk really fast really big. Imagine that the rookie rule was still in place last year. Then Marc surely wouldn't have won the title in his first year, then nobody would consider him the mighty contender he is now. Lorenzo and Pedroza wouldn't be loosing sleep over this and would be riding much better without the pressure they are under now. Imagine also what has such a rule kept us from seeing all the years it was in place.

Also last year a certain No.99 came this close to winning the championship on a inferior bike, having missed 2 races due to injury, is it all of a sudden that he is not as good a rider or No.93 is all of a sudden that much better, that you would put them in 2 different classes of talent ? What about Pol Espergaro, who challenged Marc for the Moto2 title ? Is he all of a sudden 2 classes of rider below ? His brother looked like nobody having to struggle on the satellite Ducati for his MotoGP debut, and now I'm sure most would agree that if he's put on a competitive bike he'll be fighting for the win most often than not, so is he a bad or a good rider ? What about Stoner, a crash happy Michelin rider on his debut, turned out to be the most unbeatable rider on a certain type of front Bridgestone tyre. Luck and equipment is too much of a factor, but the people want folk heroes mighty untouchable beings out of another universe that dominate mere mortals. Each of them world class rider each of them a flap of a butterfly wings from the chance to be the actual immortal, but due to circumstances made to look ordinary.

I don't want to take away from the magnificent streak of victories and form Marques have shown so far this year, it plausible that he may win every single race until the end of it. Given enough championships simple math says somebody is bound to do it, sometime. Will he be the best ever? But please show some respect to the rest of the field. The truth is that there only two bikes that would win each dry race this year in normal circumstances and one of the riders on one of those two bikes seem to like it more or to have a little more talent than the other. The current championship and rules are in such a state that there is no variety of technology and riding styles that can be a winning combo. The scenario that in 2016 with different tires and electronics another rider can dominate and make Marc look ordinary is entirely plausible, is it not ?

So please turn the dial back from 11 and merge your 3 levels of riders, because if all my year watching motorsports have proved is - nobody is that good.

Couldn't agree more

Remember when Rossi cleaned up the field back in 01-05.. who would thought he would lose in '06 & 07.
Also just because Lorenzo is too far from Marquez in these 4 opening rounds.. it doesn't mean Lorenzo forget how to ride a bike. Surely you still remember how Lorenzo performed in 2nd half last year season.
This also applies to Rossi. He is (almost fully) rejuvenated this season.
Pedrosa? No idea....
Marc is damn good.. but he is also on a superior bike (compared to the rest)...

No doubt that Marquez is on a good bike, but his superiority is not coming from the equipment. Take Marquez out of the equation, and the Honda looks to have only a small advantage. Pedrosa, Rossi, Lorenzo are all on the same pace, and Smith, Bradl and Bautista also have pretty similar speed. There is only one outlier, and that's the man who has won four races.

I'm not saying that it's just the bike being, I'm saying it's the rare case bike-rider perfectly complementing each other, the right tires to make him look good while making his fiercest rival from last year look bad. A de-motivated, maybe out of form Pedroza to make him look even better. And yeah and 20 other bikes ridden by incredible talent unlucky to be on different class of machine. Sometimes stars align in a very special kind of way, but nobody is that good.

Also I'm not denying that it's very realistic that on that particular Honda Marc is the difference. But I think Alien's alien, aliens and the rest is more appropriate for a crazed fan-boy than objective journalism. And quite disrespectful to all the world class riders to be grouped like sheep is such shortsighted categories. I don't see what anyone has to gain by over-hyping a rider so much.

Once again, look at the results further down the grid. The Yamaha and Honda are reasonably well balanced, with a slight advantage to the Honda, especially on edge grip. There is one rider who is six tenths faster than the rest. Those six tenths aren't in his bike. If it was a tenth of a second, it could be the bike. But it's much more than that. He was able to put half a second a lap into the best riders in the world.

David, I believe that is the other way around. There are probably even seconds in those bikes. The humans are limited. Even with the amount of talent and brain power, they all work in the same paradigm. You cannot do this, that and the other. And Marquez comes in and shows them, oh yes you can. Just think about Pedrosa's reaction to your question for Marquez on finding grip on the kerb. Or the strategy they used in qualifying. Clearly Marquez has less limits than the others.

Maybe I'm not communicating my point in the best way. I wouldn't wont to argue any more, I just think lap times aren't telling the whole story. I still can't agree that he is class above his most direct competitors, and even that they can be categorized a class up (as in "Aliens") from some of the Open riders. Almost anybody racing at that level is a very, very special kind of rider.

Thanks for taking the time to answer.

You and I agree on one thing: all of the riders at this level are very, very special indeed. But as George Orwell wrote, some are more special than others...

When I say it is Marquez making the difference, I am not detracting from what everyone else - from Dani Pedrosa to Michael Laverty and Mike Di Meglio - are capable of. Pedrosa can do things I could never replicate in a million years. But it looks like Marquez can do things which Pedrosa finds difficult, and perhaps even impossible, to replicate. We are talking hundredths of a percent, but that is the difference between winning and second.

But the problem is, and I've seen it happen too many times in life, that people who ARE indeed that good always have a group of skeptics who miss out on a few obvious things. In their day and age, Doohan and Rossi were way better than the rest of the field. But the point here is the rest of the field. Especially the ones on the best equipment. The exceptional ones always make the ones on similar machinery look bad. And they make even bad machines look good, sometimes leading people to ask the question why they are not performing as well. I have never seen Hailwood ride but I know that Rainey made the Yamaha look way better than it really was. The same goes for Stoner. He was challenging factory riders before Michelin started screwing with his tyre allocation. It's not a question of an RC21XV 'gelling better' with Pedrosa's style. The Honda already gels amazingly with Pedrosa's style. But even then, riders like Stoner and Marquez are bound to outperform him even if they're having a bad day. Well Marquez is yet to have a relatively bad day, but that's exactly the point.

Marquez won the Moto2 title over Espagaro over comparatively lousy machinery. Now you might say that maybe the Suter suited his style better. But it's like saying the Ducati suited Stoner better. Nah, he just made it work better.

Yes, it's true, last year Lorenzo did come very close to beating Marquez. But he crashed because he was being pushed too hard and it's not like he barely lost it. Marquez threw 20 points out the window at Philip Island. Even if the rookie rule were in place, Marquez would probably have been in the top 3. With Honda compelled to provide him with a complete factory bike in a satellite team. And that in itself is amazing.

If you want purely objective journalism, go read some of Kevin Cameron's 500 word articles (no disrespect meant, he is an excellent contributor to the field of motorcycling, as David himself would attest), but even he ended up being personal in his latest post-race round-up for Jerez. We visit David's site because of his display of emotion. And just in the right direction. I can show you some real fanboy journalism if you like. Trust me, David isn't even close. When you are out there at the racetrack and you see Marquez do the things he does, and you are compelled to be in awe despite all objectivity you hold, you have to know he's special and David is just putting across that amazement.

And this isn't the first time. After Stoner's win at Estoril at 2012 (on bad equipment and a racetrack he has never performed well at) David went on to say "Be afraid, be very afraid." And he was right. There are too many ifs and buts regarding that season but the point is in that moment, David was right.

Unlike unicorns (if you don't count rhinos), there IS such a thing as an Alien's Alien. It's not fanboy language. It's uncontrollable amazement. Is there someone who can do better than him someday? Of course. Is he here, now? No.

In the past David has written enough about other people who are actually making their machines look better. Like Danilo Petrucci and Aleix Espargaro. But the point is they are nowhere as close to Marquez. Them and the rest of the field. They deserve a lot of respect, that's true. But even though Marquez has been the 'golden boy' and not the 'underdog' doesn't make his story any less spectacular. And it's not like Marquez hasn't worked his a** off to get where he is. More so, if not less than the others.

Finally, like I have mentioned previously on this website, David has a hard time putting together enough money to travel to races and write about them. And you should see how often he responds to uneducated morons on social media, and politely no less. And then he has to come here and listen to people telling him that he's a fanboy. People who aren't site supporters but are privileged enough to read his work for free.

Give him a break.

Casey's(bad equipment) 2012 Honda won 13 out of 18 races the majority with the 2nd rider on...
That makes right up there with the most awesomest Hondas in history.. I can't think of another season where a number 2 would have over half a dozen race wins ever. Casey really should have walked 2012. Suspect Marquez would have won every race that year also..

Sure David.. Marc is the man that makes the differences
But imho... on the other side, it is Pedrosa's inability to exploit the RC 213V maximum potential.
After 8 years watching Dani.. it is very disappointing to watching him without single title..
Back in 2011..when Stoner arrived..suddenly Dani become a mediocre rider..while technically Dani was the no 1 rider.
Why? Because Stoner was better than Dani. Period.
I remember back in 2011.. people saw Stoner as alien's alien..
Put Stoner (or Rossi) in 93's bike..I think he will be as fast as Marquez...or maybe we would see the battle between an anti's alien's alien vs alien's alien.. lol...
**Another wishful thinking......

Advantages that don't make a difference on race day include, a clock/radio and an ashtray, the ones on the honda definitely help, even MM. Bradl, Bautista and Bradders are all of the same pace so their bikes must be identical doesn't go deep enough, there is no correlation to what Dani, Rossi and Jorge are doing.. Dovi is still fighting for the same positions on the Open Ducati he was on the M1 and the Repsol Honda, Bautista was better on the Suzuki. Rossi 1st on Yam(was injured all of 2010 so unfair to use as example), 6th on Duke, Casey 4th on duke 1st on Honda.. Bike can make a huge difference if you're good enough..

Its a shame that even if Lorenzo went to Honda, I don't think his style is going to make him faster on the Honda. Interviews with other riders have mentioned that Lorenzo breaks earlier than you would think in order to line himself up for the perfect and smooth cornering, maintaining as high a speed as he can with an arc. We have all seen how squiggly the Honda is for corners, the rear wheel is rarely on the ground due to such late breaking and then its jus get somewhat around the corner, pick it up and hammer the gas giving a v shape to the Honda corner. So two completely different styles and Honda is matiquilla, not crazy all over the place sliding/ drifting style of Honda cornering. So no I don't think a move to Honda would solve anything for Lorenzo.

I personally don't like Honda and I have never liked the riders there either. Honda is known for being easy to ride, in the world of road bikes, so I assume that Honda win races purely for the fact there bikes are the best, or should I say easiest to ride. It seems true to me as well because the Hondas really are all over the place on cornering, can you imagine how confident you have to be in a bike to do that at motogp speeds, with death around the corner if it goes wrong. So yes, if there is one thing I would like to see, its Marquez having his eyes opened by a move to Yamaha. I am not a fan of his, but if he went to Yamaha and was still the aliens alien, I would have to stand and clap. Until then, Yamaha rules ;p

You guys must have noticed but Marquez approach hard braking turns is a different style from what we were used to, he really drifts the whole bike, front and rear and he does gains some tenths on the other guys, Rossi can't do that. neither can Lorenzo, they ride more "conventional" setting up for the corner while Marquez goes sideways (moto2 style) and let's the bike hang lose and then recovers, that is short of a miracle on every other corner and MM93 seems to have that style nailed. I will take another Moto2-uprised crazy kid to reach MM93 as the "conventional style" or the "mantequilla" style can't hold a candle to the wild drift & slide bought by MM93 to the upper class. This is not "power slide" this is more like crazy drift and MM93 has polished that style down to a science. This guy is definitively a mutation that had worked and there will be an evolution of new riders in the near future towards that wild style, Darwin would be proud.

Rossi used to do the same thing on the 990s; I remember watching him slide front and back then hook up and turn the thing in. Then with the 800s that went away. Now maybe that's the way to ride the Honda again.

I don't understand all the "Marc's not that good" talk. Yes he is. Dani has had 8 years of input on the Honda - 8 - years - and Marc comes in as a rookie and whoops Dani's ass on the same bike. I don't think there's anyone in GP who can ride a bike as near the limit as Marquez does and do it consistently without crashing. Sure, he's lucky, but he's also very skillful and very brave. It's gonna bite him in the ass eventually and he'll take a hard fall. Then we'll see what he's really made of.

You hit the nail on the head! MM is riding a totally different style, which none of the other 'current' riders can match. The only guys capable of coming close are those that are use to sliding around, like the M2 riders. And your right, Darwin would be very proud!

I agree on what everybody says about Marquez' new style. And while I do think, he has the best bike, I think that most of his advantage over the field comes from him simply being the best out there.

I'm not sure anyone of the current MotoGP-field will be able to consistently challenge Marquez for a championship in the future. However, I disagree that his biggest rivals are to come from Moto2. They will, eventually. Maybe. But I don't really see anyone looking as promising as Marquez himself did, when he was still riding there. There is no one clearly dominating as Marquez definitely did for two seasons in a row. He would have taken Bradl's title in his maiden season one year earlier if it hadn't been for his crash. And already in his second season, he dominated the field at will on what was arguably the worse chassis compared to all the Kalex bikes. He demolished the field from the back of the grid in Valencia 2012, remember? I see a lot of talent coming up. But I don't see anyone in his league. I would love to be proven wrong, however. Just my humble opinion.

I think, the other Moto2-riders clearly show, that this series definitely is on a high level. But still, Marquez is an exception.
Bradl and Smith are talented, without a doubt. But they're not Marquez-material. Espargaro hasn't really suprised anyone yet, has he? Maybe he will, now that he claims to have found new confidence in the softer rear tire. Admittedly, Redding doesn't really have the bike, but he can't really take the fight to Hayden consistently, either. They're just Rookies, I know. But if we want to talk about rookie-talents on satellite-material, my reference would be Stoner with LCR in 2006. Pole in his second race and a podium in his first season.

I have to commend you for finding a way to so boldly ask MM 'why he was so slow'. When this was put to Marc, he took it with a seriousness that seemed to put him into a sort of vulnerability. You highlighted his only apparent weakness and he responded honestly and knowingly.

Furthermore b/c you did your homework, you pressed him further, asking why he chose the line he did. Dani's comment was also excellent b/c it highlights how Marc's competitors ( on the same machinery ) are often mystified by his speed.

Remember Casey's last race of 2011? He out qualified the field by over a second and while on track during qual, Dani and Jorge were shown watching him. Dani's face said it all, 'how in the hell are you doing that?'

It looks like the arrival of the Moto2 machines has breed the new style, I can't remember the 250's doing that, maybe cutting your teeth on a 2-stroke teaches you how to be smooth and maintain momentum but these kids on those 600's are really over the edge when they get sideways, that has always impressed me, and I've seen Marquez is bringing that to the upper class and by the looks of things "ragged and wild" is faster than "buttery smooth"

I bet MM is running an electronics setup different to Pedrosa, specially on engine braking and/or slipper clutch characteristic. All the geeks up there must be trying to sync the rear wheel as much as they can for the 'current' riders whereas MM93 is laughing his @$$ at them all and sliding the whole damn thing all over the place. Looks they find the secret for him.

1. Honda brakes better
2. Honda enters corners better
3. Honda exits corners better
4. Honda uses the tires better
5. Marc uses all the above to devastating effect
6. Obviously Danny doesn't
7. Yamaha can and will catch up on (1) (2) and (4)
8. I would love to read the race reviews then :)

First and foremost thank you David for all your work and to yet another fantastic article. Let me also thank you for asking more or less the only good question at the press conference.

I'm really starting to fall in love with Moto3. I've only been watching GP bike racing for just about a year now and let me be clear as day... Moto3 are the best races ever. It's a last lap battle for more or less the entire race. I've been really enjoying Jack's work these past races but here at Jerez I felt his performance was underwhelming. The commentators endlessly say "he's conserving tires" but (and I'd really love someone to set me straight) I'm yet to really see that work. All those Moto3 guys always seem to be on super attack mode. When I saw him back in 5th and 6th come the end of the race I had a feeling that if he tried to slip past his competition they would do anything in their power to attack back and... surprise! That's exactly what happened. In his interview at the end of the race he was complaining that folks were making stupid passes on him and slowing him down. I mean come on man what the hell were you expecting. Fantastic race all the same. Fenati did a fantastic job holding the lead and winning. Got a little bit of a soft spot for the Sky VR46 team but I absolutely love Jacks charisma and character. I'm really looking forward to watching these guys as they move up the ranks.

MotoGP was more or less boring from a "Who won the race" kind of perspective with Marc getting his trademark ok start and then walking past everyone to crush the competition. But from an informative perspective it was really something special for me. Watching Rossi coming back to not only take 2nd but beating Jorge was something I was never expecting to see especially given how things looked last year. It’s got me thinking about things in a way that I never have before. So many people say (and I’m finally starting to understand) how much of racing is in your head. This season we are seeing Marc dominating, Rossi coming back wile Jorge and Dani struggle. But why is this so? I think Marc being extremely talented but also extremely young and finding him self on a bike where all the planets (bike, software, tires) have aligned to make him feel extremely comfortable and confident to crush everyone. Like a young Jorge back in 2010 had adapted his amazing skills to the M1 and showed him self to be an incredibly powerful contender. Once Rossi left and Jorge was the top dog at Yamaha Jorge was free to develop the bike in a way that suited his developing MotoGP skills. When Rossi came back last year we saw him struggling with a bike that he didn’t feel comfortable on. Now a year later the new bike seems to have been designed with Rossis style in mind wile Jorge is struggling to feel comfortable. When extremely talented riders are young they seem to be more effervescent and able to adapt when the bike is that good. However it seems as riders get older they slowly taylor and develop their skills, but the longer they do so the more difficult it becomes to adapt to something different. Obviously it’s not the same for all the riders but it’s something to think about. Any way Marc is one hell of a kid. He’s really something special and I’m pretty excited to watch his skills develop.

David, you raised a good question about MM and the kerbstones. For those of us who don't have access to the press conference, can you tell us what his answer was? I'm very curious. And thanks, as always, for the wonderful in-depth reporting and analysis.

Marquez is proving himself to be a rare talent no matter what generation. His skills are remarkable, but what really sets him apart is his drive and cold mental. He is focused on winning and domination. No mind games or physical intimidation has worked. His peers are going to have to go faster, there is no other solution.

Rossi. It is good to see him competitive again. Hope he gets back up there one last time in the mix. For my own selfish reasons I would just love to see him win several races again, yell, "ROSSI!!!!", when he makes a race winning pass. Also to win for all the veterans (older folk).

Lorenzo I think is going through a slight depression. But once it passes I believe he is the ONE racer who will challenge Marquez. Once his metronome focus starts happening, I think he will speed up and then speed up some more. After he gained my respect last season, I cannot write him off this year.

And it was fun to watch Marquez riding alone. He rides like a dirtbiker, but on the road. Him and Casey Stoner were fun to watch alone or battling. I enjoy watching the skill.

I recall KR Jnr once saying that a rider needed a good bike, good team etc. to be 'lucky' enough to win races and a championship.
Edwards current travails with the old M1 in comparison to EspA shows that there is a significant amount of lap time in the rider/machine compatibility (and that might incl. any 'age' factors). Elias using DP's cast-off's gave him a huge boost. Etc.
MM has taken skills from other bike racing disciplines and applied them to his RCV. I don't think his advantage is about his skill per se. It is that his experience and learning has shown him that his way of riding the current bikes is the quickest way around corners.
JL was lauded as the 'best' because of his style/smoothness. His latest revelation at the Jerez test, that the soft tyre can last a race, may be related to his style and a key success factor.
JL has the ability to take the bike to the limit that others couldn't (Rossi; Crutchlow, etc.) whilst keeping the bike 'in line'. This has long been the accepted wisdom in 2 and 4 wheel circuit racing; that smooth is faster.
MM has , thankfully, challenged that accepted wisdom and has shown that being over that 'limit' of grip by sufficient degree, but not too much, is faster. It is also, for me, way more entertaining to watch.
He has made this work, it seems, by adopting a sidecar racing approach, mixed with dirt track and , with his kerb hopping, perhaps some trials skills as well. His knees and elbows are his 'third wheel'. When others would usually fall off (remember Edwards 'brilliant' elbow save some years back? - I cannot remember the exact place/time - qualifying I think.) MM showed that if you can position yourself correctly (also helping to keep the C of G nearer the apex, laterally and vertically, you can 'save it' and stay on. And not lose time, gain it.
Not being a MGP class rider I cannot say that his bike isn't a factor, but I do believe it is. His team makes a difference too.
This stuff never mattered until now. There were much greater margins in engines, chassis, brakes, tyres, and then electronics. I wonder how important the latter is to his style. MM may not use much TC in the sense of limiting spin, he is probably just more tolerant of it up to a point. I suspect he uses this in conjunction with other stability features to quite a high degree. He opens the throttle 50%when others are just thinking about it. If the bike gets a bit 'out of shape' he uses his elbow/knee (and probably a lot of body effort) to keep upright and let the bike 'sort itself out'. Without electronic stability control (who says this stuff doesn't benefit road-going machines) he is launching himself to Lorenzo land.
Is the time in MM or the bike? I believe it's both, plus his team. And his 'luck'. Being here, now.
It would be cool if some F1 drivers and engineers were watching, and wondering. BS back to F1?
It used to be that slicks were for racers and track day riders couldn't use them. Perhaps BS has redefined the race tyre and we are back to 'racer only' type tyres, for those who can push those limits, whilst mere average mortals watch, and wonder.

yet no talk of the fact that Marquez inherited all but one of Stoner's crew. The one missing was Gabbarini who simply moved a little further up the chain so effectively Marquez arrived on the grid with all of Stoner's tools at his disposal.

I'm a little stunned that so much talk is of Marquez' dominance and there is virtually no talk of the team behind him. Considering the similarities between the way Stoner and Marquez attack the track Stoner's crew and Marquez are a match made in Honda Heaven. Serendipty.

Even Marquez' qualifying strategy at Jerez reminds me so much of Stoner's warm up lap strategy where he used to do the sighting lap on his #2 bike and then transfer the scrubbed tyre(s) onto his #1 bike for the race.