Over the first half of the 2018 MotoGP season, reigning champion Marc Marquez has looked almost unbeatable, delivering a series of knock-out blows to his title rivals that means he goes into this weekend’s British Grand Prix with nearly two race wins in hand.
Winning half of the races this season and only twice finishing off the podium after a penalty and a crash, it’s hard to bet against anyone else.
But while he’s always looked fast at Silverstone, ever since taking only his second ever Grand Prix victory there back in 2010, it’s also not somewhere that he’s enjoyed the best of successes.
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One of the longest tracks with fast corners that are harder to save his typical Marquez saves at, he’s failed to finish the race there almost as many times as he’s been on the podium.
Most recently that happened last year, when a blown engine while dicing for the lead cost him any chance of extending his then-non-existent title lead over eventual race winner Andrea Dovizioso. But, while the Repsol Honda rider was well in the mix twelve months ago, there was no guarantee that victory was his thanks to the Italian’s super-strong late charge.
But since last year – and his desperate grab for points at each and any opportunity after his worst ever start to the season – Marquez seems to have learned a valuable lesson. Now able to work on eking out a lead race by race over current second place man Valentino Rossi, the strength of Marquez’s title lead means that he should be prepared to allow his rivals to ride away from him if the fight gets too aggressive.
And, with a handful of opponents out for blood, there’s every chance that the 25-year-old can be put into a situation where he doesn’t feel comfortable. From fellow Honda rider Cal Crutchlow attempting to secure the missing honour of a home Grand Prix win to Valentino Rossi desperate to end Yamaha’s 21-race losing streak, they all know that the newest iteration of Marc Marquez might not be as up for a fight as he would have been only two or three seasons ago.
So, if there’s a strategy that’ll work against him come Sunday’s race, it’s quite easy to see it. If you want to beat Marc Marquez in 2018, you have to do exactly what Jorge Lorenzo did in Barcelona, and apply the pressure strongly enough to convince him that it’s a fight not worth having.
Pick up this week's MCN for an extensive, 36-page British Grand Prix preview featuring exclusive interviews with Rossi, Marquez and Lorenzo, a hot lap with Cal Crutchlow and the tech secrets between Marquez' championship-leading Honda.
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