Factory Yamaha duo Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo have said they have not been surprised by Marc Marquez’s blistering speed during the pre-season testing campaign ahead of the Spaniard's first 2013 MotoGP world championship.
The Repsol Honda rookie has impressed with a series of scintillating winter testing performances that included an impressive display during last week’s private HRC and Yamaha test at the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin.
The reigning Moto2 world champion easily outpaced Lorenzo and Rossi and was also much faster than teammate Dani Pedrosa with a performance that certainly raised a few eyebrows in the paddock.
Many think Marquez can now be a serious title challenger in his first season on a factory RC213V machine and speaking during the launch of the 2013 YZR-M1 in Jerez this afternoon, both Rossi and Lorenzo said Marquez’s eye-catching performances had not come as a shock.
Fellow Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo said: “The performance of Marquez is not a surprise for me. I saw his performance in 125s and Moto2 and he was really quick and also for his age he had good experience. And in the last season in Moto2 he was much stronger than his rivals, so we expected him to be really quick from the beginning in MotoGP.
"But he really impressed me in Austin where he was extremely quick. I followed him for one or two laps and he was not pushing at 100% but his riding is extremely technical and quick.
"He was much faster than us but we need to see what happens here in Jerez and also in the championship. But he has everything to fight for the world championship from the beginning.”
Rossi too said Marquez’s performance in the recent Circuit of the Americas had impressed him but he has cast doubt on whether the 20-year-old can be consistent enough to fight for the title in his first season.
The Italian said: “It is not a great surprise for me because from last year Marquez was impressive already in Moto2. He started to work for MotoGP in Moto2 by changing his riding style and trying to ride that bike more similar to MotoGP. We have to say that he is in the right place at the right moment because he has a great bike and he is in a great, great team. They have good experience and they already did a great job in the past. In Austin he impressed me a lot. For sure he will be competitive to win races this season but I don’t know for the championship. I still think for the championship that Lorenzo and Pedrosa are stronger and they can use their bigger experience to take more points in 18 races.”