"Fortunately, the rider still makes a bit of a difference in the MotoGP," Marc Marquez stated, perhaps in a rather too humble manner, after winning his 8th world title. Let's be clear on this. He's right. You need your right wrist when on two wheels. Otherwise, how do you explain Sunday? With a less developed bike, Quartararo left Vinales in his place and Rossi in the dust. However, even in this case, Marquez is out of this world.
Let's take the last race - even if we leave out Lorenzo's (hopefully not desperate) case and his 54-second delay from his teammate under the checkered flag - Marc trimmed more than 29 seconds from Nakagami and 33 from Crutchlow. Considering the total of 26 laps, the gap at each finish line is embarrassing.
If this isn't enough, carefully read Marquez's last statement: "The season is not over for me. I want the triple crown." The teams and constructors titles, added to the rider's, which he has already put away. Nothing strange, were it not that Marc is also winning those titles on his own, titles that, as their names imply, should reward the group.
Let's use numbers to help us again. Honda is first, with 331 points in the constructors classification, 77 points ahead of Ducati, but the contribution of the other riders is practically zero. Only in Austin (where Marquez fell) can Nakagami boast of having contributed to the cause with a paltry 6 points. Given the amount in question, his contribution was completely irrelevant.
And the one reserved for the teams? Ducati is ahead with 377 points, 19 more than Honda with 358, of which 325 belong to Marquez and 23 to Lorenzo, and another 10 to Bradl. You don't need to have a master's degree in mathematics to understand the proportions.
Moreover, with the RC213V, the only other rider to get on the podium who wasn't Marquez was Crutchlow, with 2 third places, one in Qatar and the other at the Sachsenring.
So, removing Marquez from our equation, we would probably say that Honda is a motorcycle that's ready for the junkyard and that the Japanese engineers got their degree from a Crackerjack box. But Marc is there, and the men at HRC would do well to hold onto him.
Also because history teaches us a lesson, and a similar mistake was already made in Tokyo in 2003, when Rossi moved to Yamaha. The result was (apart from Hayden's impromptu and fortunate World Championship in 2006) a very long fast that only Stoner was able break. Coincidentally, another champion that Ducati is still crying over for the same reasons.
The names we mentioned previously weigh heavily because Valentino, Casey, and Marc are all champions capable of changing the balances in their respective eras. With them, a company is only a hostage, and the boss gets a salary, not the other way around.
After winning the title, Alberto Puig told us that "everyone decides his own path" for the future, including Marquez, but we give him the benefit of a policy statement because letting Cervera's super champion get away would simply be sports suicide.
In other words, and it's a simple rule of every sport, whoever wins is always right, and facts show that it's not Honda that's winning right now but Marquez. So it's okay to create a bike in his image and likeness without worrying about the others who have to ride it, even if it means covering him with yen, dollars, euros or whatever currency he prefers and turning the team into his family.
Being Marc's hostage is the best thing that can happen to a motorcycle manufacturer these days, without even needing to mention the Stockholm Syndrome. It's a common opinion that Marquez could win with any other bike, so the question is: could Honda win with any other rider?
The numbers can argue that the answer is "no", without having a say in the matter.