Yamaha expects Honda rookie Marc Marquez to mount a serious title challenge in his first MotoGP world championship campaign in 2013.
The Repsol Honda rider has been the talk of winter testing after putting in some impressive performances on the factory RC213V, which included him setting the fastest time at the recent private Honda and Yamaha test in Austin, Texas.
Marquez has repeatedly played down talk of a title challenge in his first MotoGP campaign but his performances have certainly caught the attention of rivals Yamaha.
Reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo believes the fellow Spaniard will be a title contender in 2013, as does Italian legend Valentino Rossi.
Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis has also backed Marquez to pose a threat to Yamaha’s aim of winning the Triple Crown of rider, manufacturer and team titles this season.
Jarvis told MCN: “It was obvious having seen him last year that he is one of the special talents in the same way as when we picked up Jorge earlier in his career.
Nobody could have had any doubt about Marc. I am very impressed by his speed so far and his switch has been seamless. The question is will he be able to keep it together for an entire season? When Jorge first joined us he was pole position in the first race and on the podium and was able to win very quickly but then he flew himself into orbit in China and damaged himself.
Hopefully that won’t happen to Marc but these MotoGP bikes can bite, so what will be important for him will be to keep things under control. But he has the potential to become champion in his rookie year, there’s no doubt about that. “