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Is Assen the Most Important Round of the Season for Marc Marquez?

Marc Marquez is nowhere near the incredible rider he was last year. With the opening 10 races won back to back and three more victories until the end of the 2014 season, Marquez seemed to be the one rider who could win everything there was to be won in 2015.
It wasn't so, and the season debut was rather blunt to teach Marquez several lessons. There have been many fellows who were quick to say things about MM93 after his latest crash, the one in the Catalunya GP a fortnight ago. For some, it was the clearest sign of a decline that would see Marquez slowly fading out of focus. Others saw despair mixed with frustration and a crazed-out desire to get through to the front in complete disregard of what MotoGP riders would call common sense.
I remember what I had written ahead of Marquez' MotoGP debut, speaking about how the racing experience changes a rider. Obviously, I am not a MotoGP coach, but it looks like I was right then. These days we can clearly see how much experience matters, and to what dire consequences unbridled ego and eagerness can lead.

I've heard a lot of guys complaining about Lorenzo's boring races and riding style, and Rossi was not spared, either. The Doctor had gotten a little fewer epithets, most likely because he was at least starting lower on the grid and was constantly making it to the podium.

Hence, the action the guy I am talking about wanted to see. Frankly, I can't blame him, as it's often more thrilling to see a mad, fierce battle for the 4th place, as it is sometimes the case, than watching a solitary rider in the front of the pack, getting further ahead with each passing lap.The older riders are the most consistent ones
Still, for the MotoGP riders and teams, round organizers and sponsors, and ticketpayers, winning races is all this sport is about. Well, as a matter of fact, winning races is a treat reserved to few guys on the grid, but getting as close to them makes MotoGP what the series is.

And for what's worth, someone has to win a race, after all, right? Well, the experience I mentioned earlier, and which seems to still represent an almost empty slot in Marquez' inventory, makes the huge difference when things are leveling out.

How many times have you seen the likes of Pedrosa, Lorenzo or Rossi fall lately, and without being provoked or hindered by another rider? I'd say we can count such occasions on the fingers of our hands. Ups and downs and come what may, these fellows seem to be able to focus on higher goals.

Rossi's comeback was a progressive one, but he didn't do anything risky or crazy. He knew that both Yamaha's machines were replicating the setup created for Lorenzo, so he understood that it was himself that needed a change. Exit Burgess, enter Galbusera, and slowly work once more on the bike. And the results can be seen.

Lorenzo's 2014 physical shape looks hilarious today if compared to his actual form and mind frame. The Cobra admitted that in 2014 he could almost feel how he was slowly drifting to be a fat, lazy rider and decided to come back to the ideal shape.

A ton of hard work replaced rushed decisions and panic, and the bike and tires started to yield to his will. His riding became more consistent than ever. If anything, Lorenzo may be distinguished with the "Rider who doesn't make mistakes" award.

And Dani Pedrosa, who still hasn't won a MotoGP crown, isn't far from them in terms of consistency. With his struggle with arm pump problems last year, we sort of understand why he lost the podium in the last two races. But did he freak out and start acting crazy on the track?

Not exactly. And Pedrosa was sidelined for three rounds, losing a lot of points, being, therefore, very interested in clawing back as many as possible in the remainder of the season. Still, he's making a gradual, calculated and apparently, highly efficient approach, as his racing expertise tells him that this is the only way to go.Marquez is surely spectacular, but he is not yet a racing machine
Rossi, Lorenzo and Pedrosa (the order is dictated solely by their current ranks) are true racing machines. They are fast, they are consistent and they prefer to stay out of harm's way.

Certain fellows I've talked to, and who seem to know more about MotoGP than I do, are a bit more radical. They acknowledge that MM93 is a phenomenon, but say that if he had to race against the current Rossi or Lorenzo last year, his spectacular domination would have been utterly deprived of the "spectacular" factor... provided Marquez had won the title, of course.He looks more like a man randomly opening the windows and the doors of a house trying to create some draught and at least simulate the wind.
In 2015, these fellows say, things leveled out a bit. Rossi has a bike that suits his style much better and he shows it, Pedrosa is no longer troubled by his arm (and I am anxious to see him ride from now on), while Lorenzo is, undisputedly, the man of the moment.

Under such conditions, we can see that Marquez is not the almighty hurricane that blows everything and anything out of his way. If I were to continue using analogies, he looks more like a man randomly opening the windows and the doors of a house trying to create some draught and at least simulate the wind.

For reasons only HRC and Casey Stoner seem to know, the 2015 bike is not as competitive as the previous one. Marc is, in fact, using a 2014-spec chassis mated to the new swingarm.

The less-than-perfect scenario would command the cool-mindedness and consistency of a rider such as the three chaps I've mentioned. Even if no miraculous solutions can be found overnight, earning some 10-15 points, or even getting on the podium is infinitely more lucrative than taking stupid risks and losing everything.

MotoGP guru Carlo Pernat was even harsher and said that the Race Direction should give Marquez a warning for the dangerously aggressive riding style. It's been more than once this year when he caused troubles on the track and put riders in danger, during races or even Free Practice sessions.

Sixty-nine points behind Rossi still leaves MM93 with mathematical chances to get closer, but for this we'd have to see the two-time world champion changing dramatically.

Maybe it's time for him to grow and leave the young Marquez behind, making way to the calculated race machine, the only one that can threaten the old guys who are back in top shape.

If he screws at Assen, or for what's worth, in any of the remaining races, the way he's screwed up three times this year already, he will end the season in a rather mediocre position (for a top HRC rider). And this year his mission is not made any easier by Ducati, whose bikes are painfully fast and whose riders are turning into race machines, too.

Assen may be one of the most important races in his career, as it may represent the birth of the new MM93, in case HRC has the guts to show him the reality without cosmetization.

 
 
 
 
 

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