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Honda: Marquez can podium on MotoGP debut
24 January 2013
HRC vice president Shuhei Nakamoto won't be surprised to see rookie Marc Marquez standing on the podium at the end of his first MotoGP race, in Qatar on April 7.
Teenager Marquez, a former 125cc world champion and reigning Moto2 title holder, is stepping up to the premier-class with Honda's factory team.
Marquez impressed by being just one-second from team-mate and 2012 title runner-up Dani Pedrosa after his first day on a MotoGP machine, during rain-reduced testing at Valencia last November.
Marquez then took part in a private HRC test at Sepang, setting a time good enough for eighth on the grid in October's Grand Prix.
“Everybody knows a fast rider is fast from the beginning,” said Nakamoto of Marquez. “But anyway Marquez is a rookie and has to learn a lot about MotoGP, especially in the tyre management area.
“To make one good lap time is not so difficult for him, because he has very good times, but he needs a little experience to manage the tyre and maintain the lap time.
“But I believe even at round one, he has the possibility to finish on the podium.”
Marquez, who joined Pedrosa and Nakamoto at Repsol Honda's team launch in Madrid on Thursday, said the move to MotoGP is a dream come true.
“Seeing the bike painted with the Repsol and HRC logos makes you feel very satisfied with this new step forward - it makes you realise what a dream-come-true it is. I'm like a kid with new shoes!” he said.
“I enjoyed the atmosphere of the presentation a lot, and I was able to see that the press attention for MotoGP is light years ahead of that for Moto2. We'll adapt to this, little-by-little.
“In the end, the important thing is what happens on the track, so I can't wait for the Malaysia tests to start.”
The last rookie to join Repsol Honda was Pedrosa, in 2006. Pedrosa finished second on his MotoGP race debut.