Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles
Issue link: http://magazine.cyclenews.com/i/209493
FEATURE P58 MOTOGP REVIEW The Dutch Grand Prix showed that Jorge Lorenzo is the toughest man in the paddock. The defending World Champion crashed in qualifying, flew home to Spain to have surgery on his collarbone and returned the next day to finish fifth in the Grand Prix. half-a-second off Lorenzo's top time and really hounding his senior teammate. Then at special factory circuit shakedown tests at Austin, Texas, something really special. Nobody had any track knowledge or data: it was ground zero for all. And Marc was fastest. The season ahead divides into four parts: the first being the opening third of the year, with the championship candidates all laying down markers. Lorenzo was the first leader, then Marquez, and then Pedrosa. Rossi was still off the pace: it had got faster during his two doldrum years at Ducati. It was already clear: this was a three-way struggle. And allSpanish. Then the hiatus: injuries for the two older riders and a purple patch for Marquez. He took over the lead again, and started to run away. Part three, the fight-back, actually started at Silverstone, as Lorenzo returned to the top step. It really got going in Australia, where an astounding error by Marquez's team saw him disqualified. What had seemed a foregone conclusion suddenly became a fight to the bitter end. The last act had just one scene. The Valencia GP. Part One: Marquez Makes It Three The landscape around Qatar does not excite pastoral fantasies, nor does it lend itself to typical races. It's one to get out of the way before the real patterns start to emerge. It was a fine win for defender Lorenzo, with Rossi triumphing over Marquez in hand-to-hand combat for second, Pedrosa a glum fourth. It would be the last time Valentino played at the sharp end for quite a while, and when he got there it would be Marquez winning any on-track battles. Lorenzo also sounded a warn- ing for the upcoming season: he'd had to ride like the devil; the Hondas were stronger than his Yamaha. And they had a seamlessshift gearbox to underline their accelerative powers. Back to Texas, and things started to get tasty. Marquez showed his strength in more than one area. On track he took his first pole (youngest-ever, displacing Freddie Spencer) and his first win (ditto). The Hondas had been outrunning Lorenzo, then Marquez pounced and again outran Pedrosa. During practice Marquez also had his first crash - something everyone had been waiting for, and at some speed. He jumped up and carried on. This was definitely the most positive aspect of his youth. He left sharing the points lead with Lorenzo, who finished third. The kid was certainly grabbing the headlines. Now the European season began in earnest at Jerez, and while it was Pedrosa's turn to win the race Marquez and Lorenzo had a classic scrap for second, won (after several near collisions) by the youngster with a brutal final strike at the last hairpin, sending a disgruntled Lorenzo off at a tangent.