What kind of championship will it be without Marquez? Definitely different than usual. It could not be otherwise, with the dominator of the last few years on the sidelines. The best to have taken advantage of his absence were Quartararo and Vinales, with 50 and 40 points respectively, then Dovizioso with 26.
Easy to say that the heirs to the throne of the Spanish rider are these three, even if things are easy to say but difficult to foresee. First of all, because they've only had two races so fart, moreover, on the same circuit, which means that the numbers on the field have started to emerge, but they're far from clear.
Also because, in the current MotoGP, the levels on the field are much more balanced than a few years ago, when there were practically always the same 3 or 4 riders on the podium, and all you had to do was figure out on which step they'd be standing.
Logically, Fabio and Maverick can be defined as favorites. And we can also add Andrea to the list, considering his recent resume, but this doesn't mean that it'll be a fight among this trio.
In Jerez, on the contrary, we clearly saw how the heirs to the podium can be many and not always obvious. Some names? Jack Miller, Pecco Bagnaia, Franco Morbidelli and, of course, Valentino Rossi, who has climbed those steps. They were already a good group, but we can't forget other heirs who, in the past, have shown that they can easily aspire to certain positions.
One of those is certainly Danilo Petrucci, limited to Jerez by the bad blow he got in Wednesday's tests. The same can be said for Cal Crutchlow and Alex Rins, who were also limited in Spain by their falls. Is it over for them? Maybe, because Nakagami could reserve some surprises, ditto for Mir, and the KTMs are not that far from the best.
The first analysis, even if just mentioned, already makes it clear that this championship is not at all simple to interpret. In addition, the riders are not the only thing to keep in mind, but also the tracks.
If the Yamaha showed it was the bike to beat in Jerez, things could already change this weekend in Brno, not to mention the Red Bull Ring: two circuits (especially the second) where horsepower counts, and the Ducati certainly does not lack any. Then there's Misano, where the scale could still tilt towards the M1, but Marquez will also be there.
When he returns, will he still be able to think of the title? Certainly a champion of his caliber will but, at that point, his chances of succeeding will be slight.
In the (unlikely) hypothesis that Quartararo wins all the races, Marc would have 125 points to recover in 9 races (equal to 225 points available). If Fabio's five wins are difficult, we can still believe that the leader of the standings will arrive in Misano with a hundred points, still many to be nabbed by those who are at zero.
So Marquez won't worry about the championship, but about the wins at each stage, which he does very well. He'll want to win as many races as possible, aware that he has something to lose. It'll then turn into the classic tipping the scales thing, and it'll be a very heavy scale to tip.