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Baker's Dozen: US MotoGP

Rider manager - and newly appointed FIM Commercial Director - Phil Baker answers 13 questions during the summer break between the Laguna Seca and Indianapolis MotoGP rounds...
1. Q:
Just how good is Marc Marquez and how do you see the situation developing in the MotoGP title fight during the second half of the year, starting next weekend in Indianapolis?

Phil Baker:
Marc is an incredible rider. He has good charisma, exceptional talent and is a serious challenger for taking the title in his rookie year. I would not be surprised if he is able to win the championship as I believe he can face the pressure head on. To think that he is leading the world championship at the halfway point and proving to be as quick, if not quicker than his team-mate who has been on the bike since 2006 really proves the point.

2. Q:
Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa did what they could to limit the title damage at Laguna. What are your thoughts on riders coming back early from injury?

Phil Baker:
There is a very fine line between a rider deciding that he is fit enough to race and whether it is safe enough for that injured rider to be out on the track with other riders. It is always a concern if a rider goes out unfit and therefore limited in his ability to react. That said, I think Jorge's comeback has been amazing and his determination and drive is an example to all.

3. Q:
The big news since Laguna Seca has been Cal Crutchlow's move to Ducati. Is it the right move for Crutchlow and is he the right rider for Ducati?

Phil Baker:
Ducati, having been recently bought by Audi, are not participating to make up the numbers and their resources are deep with very talented engineers. They will get it right, but whether Cal is the person for that is the big question. Let's not forget that this is also a business and a rider's career is time restricted, so they are all looking to become financially secure by the time they retire. A combination between being well paid and on a bike that you feel you can develop and make competitive is the best solution. Obviously Cal believes he can do that and it will be interesting to see.

4. Q:
Pol Espargaro's Tech 3 Yamaha deal was also announced. How do you rate Espargaro?

Phil Baker:
I rate him highly, but I also believe that there are other riders, equally qualified for the job. It will be interesting to see how he fares against Bradley next year and whether podiums are in the near future for Tech 3.

5. Q:
Nicky Hayden's future is currently unconfirmed. How big a blow would it be for MotoGP if he leaves the championship, given there are presently three US based rounds?

Phil Baker:
Nicky attracts a large percentage of the American audience and to see him go will leave a gaping hole for the three US rounds. Numbers were down at Laguna Seca - probably due to a number of the audience heading to COTA for the first time - and it needs some young Americans to be coming through the ranks. I hope Nicky does stay, but then it must also be an attractive idea for him to try and become a world champion in WSBK as well as MotoGP.

6. Q:
What about the other undecided places on the 2014 grid? Who would you like to see where?

Phil Baker:

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August 15, 2013 10:14 AM

I have to assume Phil's duties mean he doesn't have time to watch BBC over a MotoGP weekend. Its not just the commentary thank is poor, the whole package has deteriorated over the years since 2003 and its now appalling. Virtually no publicity in the press or their own publication (RT) and no program listings. Squeezed in wherever, RedButton, Streaming, whatever channel. Minimal time before/after start time of practice/race for coverage. Commentary already mentioned. Eurosport do a far better job.

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