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MotoGP riders respond to Marquez deal
13 July 2012
MotoGP stars Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso all gave a positive reaction to Thursday's news that Moto2 star Marc Marquez will step up to the premier-class next season.
The 19-year-old Spaniard has signed a two-year deal to ride alongside Pedrosa at the factory Repsol Honda team, thus replacing retiring double world champion Stoner.
“I think it is good news for MotoGP, for the championship, to have another big rider fighting in theory with us next year,” said Yamaha's 2012 title leader Lorenzo.
“I think he will be able to be quite fast from the first race, from the first practice. It is a good line-up, Dani and Marquez, in the same team with a Spanish sponsor..”
Seven time MotoGP champion Rossi believes Marquez has what it takes to become a premier-class champion.
“I like a lot Marquez. He is very young, but he has already demonstrated that he has the potential to be a world champion in the future in MotoGP,” said the Ducati rider.
“He is very strong, very fast and sometimes he wins difficult races when he is not the fastest on track. This is so important. To arrive in the Repsol Honda team is fantastic for a rookie.”
Like Marquez, Pedrosa - whose own two-year contract extension was announced at the same time - also moved directly to Repsol Honda from the then 250cc class, in 2006.
“MotoGP is more tough. We have to see how he is at the beginning. But for sure he is very talented, so no doubt of the possibilities,” said Pedrosa, who won his first race of the season last Sunday in Germany and is now 14-points behind Lorenzo.
Marquez is taking the place of retiring reigning champion Stoner, who had previously named Marquez as his preferred choice.
“I think he has shown what his intentions are by the championship is having now,” said the Australian. “It should be interesting to watch him next year and see how it goes.”
Marquez's speed and fearless riding style caught the eye of MotoGP riders long ago.
"Watching him is like watching a Rocky movie or something," said Colin Edwards last October. "He's definitely going to be a threat when he comes to MotoGP."
But his fellow Moto2 riders and Race Direction have been more critical of Marquez's all-action approach.
Marquez was penalised late last season for a nasty collision with Ratthapark Wilairot, after the practice chequered flag had been waved at Phillip Island.
Thomas Luthi was then left furious after a close last-lap victory pass sent him off track at the opening 2012 round in Qatar, while Catalunya saw a nasty clash with Pol Espargaro - for which Marquez was initially penalised by Race Direction, although the penalty was later overturned.
Despite such incidents, none of the MotoGP riders questioned at Mugello mentioned any objections to Marquez's riding. The only concern was of a more technical nature, raised by Dovizioso.
“I will be interested to see what Marquez can do in the next two or three years. He is so fast and so strong. I have a good relationship with him,” began the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider.
“I am interested because his style is quite particular and I want to see how he will ride the MotoGP. I think there is a big difference, it looks like in Moto2 you can't work a lot the bike, but in MotoGP you have to.”
Marquez won the 2010 125cc World Championship for Red Bull Ajo Derbi and is presently 43-points clear in the Moto2 title race for the CatalunyaCaixa Repsol (Suter) team.
Marquez finished runner-up to Stefan Bradl in his injury-shortened 2011 debut Moto2 season, with his Sepang eye injury - caused by falling on an unmarked section of wet track - also forcing him to miss most of winter testing.