Sixty-five laps in Portimao to be sure that the eye problems are behind us and to be able to start again as it should be, with winter tests before joining the fray. Finally, Marc Marquez’s road seems to be going downhill and that of his opponents is going uphill.
Since his accident in Jerez in 2020, many things have changed in MotoGP and the grid has rejuvenated a lot. After Lorenzo, Valentino and Crutchlow retired, Dovizioso took a sabbatical and then returned, meanwhile new and younger riders grew up. The generational change about which so much has been written and is represented by the titles of Mir and Quartararo, the tip of the iceberg which also includes Morbidelli and Bagnaia, the deputies of the aforementioned champions, and again Martin, Bastianini, Oliveira, Binder ( brad)waiting to see what Fernandez, Gardner, Bezzecchi and Di Giannantonio, this year’s rookies, will be capable.
Usually, the script foresees that the young man defeats the ‘old’ (if that is what Marc, who has yet to turn 29 …) and steals his crown. For Marquez’s physical problems this did not happen and we could only see the real challenge this year.
Quartararo had had to deal with the cannibal from Cervera in 2019, and had always been beaten. That year, however, Fabio was making his MotoGP debut and with a satellite bike, the Frenchman has grown a lot in the meantime and with Marc on the track he will be able to understand how much.
The only rider of the new generation to have come face to face with Marquez and to have prevailed was Bagnaia. In Aragon Pecco understood how dangerous even a wounded lion can be, but on that occasion he was able to tame it. Also in Misano (in the second GP) he had the breath of the Honda rider on his neck, managing the pressure as best he could until the crash.
For everyone else, fighting with Marquez will be an unprecedented and very important test. It will also be true that number 1 is on Quartararo’s bike and according to an unwritten law he will be the man to beat, but with Marc on the track, everything changes.. He is the ruler of the last few years, a rider who has had to deal with big players like Lorenzo, Rossi, Pedrosa, Dovizioso and has learned a lot from each of them, to the point of becoming unbeatable. Speed, cunning, strategy, are all qualities that Marc is not lacking and to beat him, especially over the long distance of a championship, you have to be perfect.
Often doubts have arisen about the real quality of the new generation, precisely because the yardstick with which to compare it was lacking. Now that he’s back, all the answers will come.
Everyone will want to beat Marquez and he will want to prove that he has not lost his shine, that he has left his throne unguarded and takes it back by force. An arm wrestling Marc against the rest of the world that seems unequaled only for those who do not know Spanish. Provided, of course, that his physical conditions are perfect and that Honda finally gives him a less complicated bike, with which he is not forced to constantly transcend the limit.
All the others have only to sharpen their weapons, to be able to defeat Marc. To write it you need a few words, to do it a whole season.