Marc Marquez may never be as strong as he was at the peak of his Moto GP career but even with an injury-ravaged body functioning at less than 100 percent he is capable of winning the title, his age-old rival Andrea Dovizioso said.
Six-time Moto GP champion Marquez has been nowhere close to challenging for the title since 2020 due to a season-ending crash in the first race that year, followed by bouts of double vision due to concussions in 2021 and 2022. A terrifying crash in Indonesia last month ruled Marquez out for two races and he admitted he would be riding cautiously at this weekend’s Grand Prix of the Americas , but Dovizioso said he could not rule the Spaniard out of contention.
“I have my opinion about Marc and I don’t think he can be back to his best physical condition like in the past,” Dovizioso told Reuters .
“That will be difficult or even impossible, but that doesn’t mean he can’t win the title.”
Former Ducati rider Dovizioso finished second in the championship behind a dominant Marquez for three years in a row as the pair fuelled an intense rivalry and were involved in numerous last-lap battles. “His talent is crazy, not a lot of people and riders realise that,” Dovizioso, now racing with the Yamaha RNF team, added. “He has a chance to win even if he isn’t 100 percent fit.”
The 2022 season is three races old but Marquez may still fancy his chances after nine different riders finished in podium places, underlining how open this season has been.
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Dovizioso explained the gap between first and last has narrowed in recent years due to the development of the bikes, with downforce, ride height and holeshot devices, and electronics making a bigger difference than rider ability. “In my opinion, from a rider's side, it’s not so nice... The development of the technical side in Moto GP is not (for) the best because if you’re fast that weekend you can fight. If you’re not fast, you can’t fight,” he said.
“It’s all related to speed. Every session is like qualifying practice because you have to do a good lap time to be in the top 10.
“I don’t love that. Maybe it’s because I was raised in a different situation, but it is what it is and you have to adapt.”
Dovizioso, 36, got back on a Yamaha bike last year after nearly a decade and he has struggled for points-scoring finishes with the independent RNF Racing team, saying he is still adapting to the new machine “You can’t imagine how big the changes were because everything is very different, most of things are the opposite (to Ducati). It takes time to adapt,” he said.
“I’m quite small on the bike and I was struggling with the size of the chassis which is larger - that was the biggest problem. If you’re not comfortable, you can’t push it to the limit. And you can’t change the size of the bike. I realised last year how difficult it would be, I realised some negative points. If you don’t ride in a specific way, like Fabio (Quartararo) did, you can’t use the potential of the bike... I try to study and copy other Yamaha riders.”
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