MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
The problem that could spoil Márquez’ MotoGP title hopes
The main reason KTM, Suzuki and Honda are struggling this season is Michelin’s 2021 front-tyre allocation
There’s no doubt Marc Márquez has a chance to win the 2021 MotoGP world championship. Last time out at Jerez, his second race in nine months, he finished ten seconds behind the winner, despite two huge confidence-eroding crashes during practice.
Race by race the 28-year-old will get faster and stronger, so there’s every chance he may overhaul his 50-point deficit to current leader Pecco Bagnaia. After all, he won the 2019 championship by 151 points.
However, there is something that could stop him.
Michelin made big changes to its front-slick allocation for the 2021 season, rationalising the range by removing some of its less-popular 2020 fronts and working to bridge the gaps with new asymmetric tyres designed to give the best of both worlds.
But these asymmetric tyres aren’t working for some factories. This is why KTM, last season’s big surprise, has yet to score a podium this year. It’s also why Suzuki, the strongest factory at the end of 2020, has only scraped one podium so far this season. And it explains why Honda, which struggled last year without its six-times MotoGP king, is in even worse shape now.
Thus the same front-tyre nightmares that are currently haunting KTM, Suzuki and other Honda riders may torment Márquez once he is fully up to speed.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.