The 2020 MotoGP world championship has now become an open goal. The news of the fresh operation that Marc Marquez was forced to undergo, after the first titanium plate was damaged, leaves little hope for the eight-time world champion to return to the saddle in time to defend the title.
To the 50 points lost in the two GPs at Jerez, will be added those of the Brno GP and, if he wants to do things well this time, the two zeros of the GPs of Austria and Styria, which will be held at the Red Bull Ring in the next two weeks.
It’s not necessarily the case, however, that the overall haul of his main opponent - currently Fabio Quartararo - will be 125 points. In addition to the Frenchman, his brand mate Maverick Vinales and the Ducati quartet of Dovizioso, Miller, Bagnaia and Petrucci, are also racing for the title, not to mention the revenant Valentino Rossi.
In short, the gap from the leader for Marc could be smaller, but there will still be a lot of points to recover in just 9 Grands Prix, starting from the one at Misano on September 13th which would give the Spanish champion time to get back into shape without taking any unnecessary risks.
Pegging back even 90 points in just nine races is an exploit worthy of a science-fiction film, but Magic Marc, by getting back on track and trying for the win, will certainly honour anyone who is in the lead or with whom he fights for the title by offering him the opportunity to cross swords.
Because it is one thing to win the title with someone who has dominated the last 7 seasons (with the exception of 2015) on the track, it’s something completely different to do it without.
We know that there are a lot of observers who believe that this is an offensive declaration for all the other riders, but it is actually not the case because every single one of them would have preferred to compete with Marc on track. Anyone who calls himself a racer goes out on track thinking he can win, and he shouts it out to the world in CAPITAL LETTERS, but this ostentatious machismo then vanishes in front of the mirror when, faced with himself, he truly knows if and how much his opponent is the strongest.
Of course, as Phil Read often said: "keep it on the rubber", which is a nice way of saying that the first goal is not to put the bike upside down, and Marc has done that often, too often. But let's face it: neither we nor Honda would want it any other way. So, we keep ourselves far away from all the controversy of those observers who accuse him of being too over the top. Marquez is simply Marquez. Take it or leave it and for Honda 'taking it' has meant six world titles in the past seven seasons.
Of course, there is always the possibility of doing better, but in this case it is not the fault of the rider, who might be as awesome as you wish but he’s still a victim of a drug called adrenaline: you need a winning team and, it might be bad to admit it, since Livio Suppo left (or was sent away…), HRC no longer has one.
After all, we are writing this in partial defence of those present… Who is in there with more balls than Marquez? And when you have someone who has rescued you on countless occasions so far, how can you say no?
It was much, much easier for Lin Jarvis to exclude Valentino Rossi from the factory team, don't you think? In spite of everything.
Because in sport that’s the way it works; serial winners are in charge. And Marc is one of those. The others (apart from Vale) have not yet reached that stage…