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MotoGP, The magic of Mugello to stop Marquez

Only in 2014 did Marc reach the 6th round with a bigger advantage. Dovizioso needs to beat him, the others can only hope to do likewise

MotoGP: The magic of Mugello to stop Marquez

While reason tells us that, with 14 GPs still to run, anything can happen, instinct tells us that Marquez and Honda have built a strong base that will be tough for their rivals to penetrate. The Spaniard arrives at Mugello with a significant advantage in his pocket, a 36-point lead over Vinales, the rider who is currently struggling the most out of all the big names.

Marquez's nominated rival is further back, Dovizioso lying 49 points behind and 9th in the standings. Andrea is the only rider to have been able to beat Marc in a head to head thus far, but mistakes and bad luck have come at a price.

The fact remains that the Spaniard has never had a season start like this one, if we exclude the 2014 season (that of the 10 consecutive wins). Furthermore, only that year did the Honda rider reach round 6 as championship leader, as you can see from the table here below.

In 2017 Marc was trailing by 27 points upon reaching Mugello, by 5 in 2016, by 33 in 2015 (the only GP season in which he failed to win the title), and by 26 in his debut season. If we consider that he probably threw 25 points away in Argentina, his advantage right now is clear to see.

As well as worrying, because (leaving aside his own personal playground at Austin) Marquez has already tackled some of the tracks at which he's struggled in the past. In theory, Mugello is one of these, a track at which he's won only once in MotoGP (again in 2014). In practice though, and based on the recent Tuscan tests, things may be different this year.

During the tests, Marquez was the only rider to duck under 1’47” (his best unofficial time a 1’46”8), while the second quickest rider was Crutchlow, also on a Honda. Two clues right there.

At this point, Ducati and Dovizioso need to put the recent disappointments behind them and do something to stop the Spaniard. It's not an option but a necessity, if they want to get back into the title fight. Perhaps also hopeful that Yamaha can start to wake up and take a few points from Marc too.

A home race can perform miracles anyway, and there are four Italian riders who want to reach the podium at all costs. Dovizioso and Rossi of course, as well as Petrucci, who put in a strong performance at Le Mans but didn't test at Mugello, and Iannone, who was particularly fast during testing (1’47”36, to the 1’47”94 of Dovizioso).

The Italian GP is a magical event and some kind of sorcery is needed to beat Marquez.

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