Is Marc Marquez’s absence the reason for MotoGP’s wild year? | MotoGP

by Nov 2, 20200 comments

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Reigning world champion Marc Marquez has been out of action since breaking his arm in the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix and there are now doubts about whether he will even return this season.

With Marquez sidelined, eight different riders have won the 11 races so far, and the championship battle is tighter than ever.

25 points (the equivalent of one race win) covers the top 4 in the championship, from Suzuki’s Joan Mir to Yamaha riders Maverick Vinales, Fabio Quartararo and now Franco Morbidelli.

With a wild season on our hands, can Marc Marquez’s absence be ruled as the main reason for such unpredictability:

As a six-time world champion, Marquez has often dominated the MotoGP field, proving untouchable and unbeatable in many circumstances.

But as well as Marquez’s absence, there is the impact of the revised tyres. The new construction of the Michelin rear – created to provide more grip and consistent wear – has proved a struggle for some riders and teams to adapt to.

Riders such as Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso have been heavily impacted by the change, meaning that the three-time runner-up has dropped towards the back of the grid, especially in qualifying.

“For me the tyres decide a lot this year,” agreed Fabio Quartararo, leader of the world championship until Aragon. “Some tracks you have a great feeling, some tracks you have a really bad feeling. It depends on the rider and on the riding style.”

Meanwhile, the competitiveness of the KTM MotoGP team in 2020 is another reason for the exciting season, with both Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira (from the Tech3 team) taking spectacular maiden wins.

Thanks partly to their previous concession team status, which allowed them to make engine changes and have the opportunity to test more, KTM has proven to be a tough competitor against the likes of Yamaha, Ducati, Honda and Suzuki.

So it seems Marc Marquez’s absence is certainly not the only reason for the vast amount of winners and entertaining performances.

After all, as Marquez’s former team-mate Dani Pedrosa has said, Marc is just one rider, so even if he was on the podium every week, there would still be two other riders up there with him – the identity of whom would remain just as unpredictable as the 2020 season so far.

“I think the championship is very competitive in itself because of the level that you see every week; riders are exchanging positions, one weekend fighting for the podium and the next weekend at the same track maybe not,” Pedrosa said.

“Of course, without Marc there is more opportunity for some other riders. But at the end Marc is one rider, so if he would always be on the podium – as he usually is – there would still be two other guys on the podium.

“So I think with Marc on track the chance to win is more difficult, but without him the competition [you see] would still be there.”

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