Double MotoGP champion Marc Marquez's ability to throw his Repsol Honda around like a dirt bike amazes former 500cc star Daryl Beattie.
Beattie, runner-up to Mick Doohan in the 1995 World Championship, told Crash.net: “You can see Marquez's ability on dirt track especially. The amazing thing for me is that he rides his MotoGP bike like he rides the dirt bike. He gets the thing in weird angles, it's tucking and turning… His feel and ability to do that is unbelievable.
“So much has changed since the days of Barry Sheene, in terms of the tyres and electronics, but the guys now are certainly tucking and sliding a lot. Dirt track does an enormous amount for that.”
The Australian added: “Marquez is frighteningly naturally talented and
he's got a head on his shoulders Somebody like Anthony Gobert was probably just as talented as Marquez, if you talk about raw ability on a dirt bike or road bike. But from the shoulders up it was missing.
“During my time the standout rider was Mick [Doohan], but Mick is very different to Marquez. Mick worked hard to get where he was - as everyone does - but I think there is more natural ability with Marquez.
“After Mick there was Rossi, then I would say Casey [Stoner]. Casey wasn't there long enough to dominate for a long period, but certainly his ability was unbelievable. And now there is Marquez.
“So from my time onwards there have only been four of those really brilliant guys - and that's not taking anything away from the others. They are all unbelievable riders to make it at that level.
“But I think in any game you only see that odd one come through maybe once a decade and Marquez is the man of the moment.”
With Marquez replacing the retiring Stoner at the Repsol Honda team, MotoGP narrowly missed out on seeing the pair go head-to-head.
“It would have been a great clash,” Beattie agreed. “You can see the rapport that Marquez has with Valentino. All the top guys seem to get along pretty good at the moment. But I think if Casey had been there with Marquez, two young guys at the top of their game, we would have seen some sparks.”
Australia's first Honda MotoGP since Stoner will be Jack Miller, who is moving directly to the premier-class after finishing runner-up in Moto3 last season.
“I certainly think Jack's got the ability to do it for Australia,” Beattie said. “I think he's matured massively in the last couple of years, especially his KTM season. I think Aki Ajo was a great leader for him and taught him a lot.
“At first I was a bit sceptical [about moving straight to MotoGP], but from what I've seen so far I think he's done a great job and is ready to make the jump.”
to read the full interview with Daryl Beattie who, like Casey Stoner, retired at the age of just 27...