Six-time premier-class champion Marc Marquez didn’t invent a new MotoGP riding technique, as such.

But he does push the front-end limits of his machinery like no other rider (as illustrated recently in Portimao…) and, crucially, can make a bike turn more quickly than his team-mates.

That’s according to Jean-Michel Bayle, the only person to compete at the highest levels of both motocross and road racing, having won World and AMA titles on dirt before switching to the 250cc and then 500cc World Championships in the 1990s.

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The Frenchman told the latest edition of GPMag: "What makes Marquez exceptional is that straight away, from FP1, he’s on the limit in almost every phase of riding. Stoner did the same thing. That's pure talent.

“But in my opinion, Marc Marquez has not innovated in terms of riding technique. He's superior to the others in terms of his feeling for the limits, but he's not demonstrating a new way of riding.”

Bayle explained: “Marc Marquez needs constantly to test his confidence, that's how he rides.

“The rear, you can't do much more, except a particular tyre choice or setting, but it won't make a big difference compared with the others. The only place where you can distinguish yourself is on the front. And he masters this limit like no other.

“The other phase where he excels, the cornering phase, is also essential.

‘If you turn faster than the others, you can make a huge gap’

“The most complicated thing in MotoGP is not braking late, they all know how to do that. Nor is it accelerating hard, especially with traction control. The hardest thing is to make the bike turn.

“If you can get it to turn faster than the others, you can make a huge gap.

“If you turn it by - I'm taking a hypothetical value here - 10 metres less than the others, you're winning. Your exit path is easier, you have a lot more margin. You can lift the bike earlier, so you get better drive grip even with a worn rear tyre etc.

"I think Marquez is very strong at the end of a braking phase, when he is maybe braking at 10%, the moment when he is just starting to get back on the throttle. In this phase he turns his bike quicker than the others.”

‘Overturn’

But how exactly does Marquez make a bike turn more quickly?

“When he gets a lot of [lean] angle, he forces the front tyre a little, turning the bars ever so slightly, which creates a force in the chassis that causes the rear to pivot," Bayle explained.

“If you lack grip when you force, you lose the front instead of pivoting the rear. You can also lose the rear because you put too much force on the front, or if the movement is too sudden. You have to find the best compromise.

“I call it ‘overturn’.

“A bike, naturally, when you put some angle on it, turns. ‘Overturn’ is where you accelerate the moment when the bike turns, by applying force to the front to make the rear turn. And you have to work on it. In any case, when you start to go very fast, you have no other choice but to ‘overturn’.

“Honestly, I was never very good in GP. I was just good... But sometimes I managed to apply this, when I was feeling confident.

“I can't explain my motocross riding, it was instinctive. Whereas I arrived in road racing when I was 23 and I was taught how to do it. I tried to understand everything. So I have more analytic ability when it comes to MotoGP racing.”

Bayle, 53, took a best 500cc race finish of fourth place and championship high of eighth in the 1994 250cc standings.

GPMag also spoke to Marquez’s Ohlins and Michelin tyre technicians, who both agreed that the Spaniard’s feedback is “really precise” and “matches exactly with the data”.

Marquez, who has missed the last two rounds due to a hand injury caused by his collision with Miguel Oliveira in Portimao, is aiming to return for next weekend's Spanish event.

Third in the Portimao Sprint, Marquez could have dropped a worst-case 99 points further behind due to the Sunday DNF in Portugal (25 points) plus his absence from both the Argentine (37) and COTA (37) weekends. However, mistakes and misfortune for his main rivals mean he is currently 57 points from surprise title leader Marco Bezzecchi.

LCR's Alex Rins took Honda's first victory since Marquez at Misano 2021 last weekend at COTA.