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'Nervous' Marquez heads for first MotoGP race

"For sure I will be nervous going into my first MotoGP race but I'm also excited" – Marc Marquez.
For the first time since Jorge Lorenzo in 2008, a MotoGP rookie heads for his debut premier-class race with a real chance of victory.

Reigning Moto2 champion Marc Marquez - replacement for the retired Casey Stoner at Repsol Honda - has been the talk of winter testing after setting a front-running pace in the official Sepang tests, then dominating a private Honda/Yamaha outing at Austin.

The rain-interrupted final test at Jerez saw a more modest sixth position, but many feel that the wild-riding 20-year-old could still cause an upset and join only Max Biaggi (1998) and Jarno Saarinen (1973) in winning on his premier-class debut.

Marquez's fellow Spaniards Lorenzo (2008) and Dani Pedrosa (2006) - also title winners in the intermediate class, who moved straight into a factory MotoGP team - both finished second in their opening premier-class grand prix appearance.

As expectation builds, Marquez has his feet firmly on the ground ahead of this weekend.

"We've had a good winter testing and now it's time to go racing,” said last year's Losail Moto2 winner. “Qatar isn't one of my favourite tracks but I still enjoy it. There are many factors to consider there with the sand from the desert which affects the grip and also the fact it's a night race.

“Also, as I saw in Jerez, everything is very different on the MotoGP bike compared to Moto2 so we will need some time. Let's see when we get there, for sure I will be nervous going into my first MotoGP race but I'm also excited."

While beating the likes of Lorenzo and Pedrosa over a race distance might be a step too far in Qatar, few would be surprised to see Marquez lead the grand prix at some stage before possibly ending up in a contest with Valentino Rossi for the final step of the podium…

Should things turn out tougher than expected for Marquez, he can console himself with the fact that seven time champion Rossi failed to finish on his 500cc debut, in 2000.

Practice for the 2013 Qatar night race begins on Thursday evening.



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Iannone, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
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Iannone, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Melandri, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Iannone, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
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Melandri, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014

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jjthekid46 - Unregistered

April 02, 2013 5:48 PM

@EL Guevo: If you think Marquez will not challenge Pedrosa when the opportunity presents itself, then you are seriously mistaken. What he is doing is called keeping expectations in check and playing things down. He did the same thing last year when he missed most of pre-season testing in Moto2 due to his eye injury. He said that he would play things came cool and calm for the season opener. Come race day, he pulled that infamous pass on Luthi to win in Qatar. The guy only cares about winning, don't let his words and his smiling couldn't hurt a fly demeanour fool you. Those that pay attention will notice that what Marquez says, and what he does on track are 2 completely different things.....

Cubikrube

April 02, 2013 3:42 PM

Based on the fact that it will be dry (they won't race in the wet at night as we saw a few years ago) i would say it will be Pedrosa or Lorenzo 1st with the other taking 2nd as long as there are no crashes between the top boys. Then 3rd will be between Rossi and Marquez. If everything goes well then Cal will be 5th, i still don't believe he is as good as Rossi on that Yam and Marquez...well based on testing he is looking good. Overall, if we have another crappy summer weatherwise then don't count Rossi out for the title. If we have a good summer it will be between Pedrosa and Lorenzo. Honda has the better bike but i believe that out of those two the better rider currently is Lorenzo. Hopefully we just have an amazing season full of twists and turns and a bit of good natured banter....well i can hope for the latter :)



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