Marquez rarin' for Jerez MotoGP
THE 'NEW ROSSI': Honda's Marc Marquez is the new favourite for the 2013 Spanish MotoGP after taking victory in Texas on April 21. Image: AFP
Author: SYLVAIN DUBUS
JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, Spain - Marc Marquez became the youngest MotoGP winner yet on April 21 at the Texas MotoGP but he's not letting that success go to his head as he and his fellow riders prepare for Sunday's 2013 Spanish MotoGP here.
The 20-year-old Spaniard, 2012 's Moto2 World champion, showed few nerves in capturing the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas, but says he is not expecting other victories to fall into his lap.
"I have to keep my feet on the ground after my success in the US. In Jerez all the riders have a lot more experience me," Marquez said.
Chief among those who will be chasing him will be the Yamaha duo of compatriot and defending champion Jorge Lorenzo and Italian legend Valentino Rossi. The Yamahas dominated pre-season testing in Jerez but he believes the Jerez layout will suit him better than the Austin circuit.
He was, however, out-ridden in Jerez in 2012 by Honda's now-retired Australian star Casey Stoner - but only by a second.
Lorenzo, whose third place in the US was his 100th podium
finish 10 years after posting his first in that year's Brazilian GP, said: "The fast bends will make it easier."
Yamaha isn't panicking because of Marquez's stunning victory in Austin. Its riders held the upper hand in the opening race when Lorenzo won the 2013 Qatar MotoGP with Rossi second.
Team chief Wilco Zeelenberg said: "The podium is our target. There is no rush to win - there are so many races remaining."
Marquez' team mate Dani Pedrosa will also be keen to make his mark after a disappointing start to a season he hopes will see him finally land the World title that has eluded him since he moved up to this category in 2006.
Pedrosa, 27, has not won at Jerez since 2008 but will be looking to re-establish his pre-season status as No.1 Honda rider.
Briton Cal Crutchlow too can entertain hopes of victory on his Yamaha M1 as he recorded the fastest time of all the riders in pre-season training.
Ducati has had an even longer wait for victory in Jerez than Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso. Nicky Hayden will lead their challenge to secure the team's first win since Loris Capirossi in 2006.
The Spanish home crowd will also be praying for wins in the Moto2 and Moto3 races. Nicolas Terol will be keen to back up his success in Texas - his first win in 18 months - and take the overall lead on the Moto2 log off consistent British rider Scott Redding.
The Moto3 race looks like being a toss-up between three Spaniards - Alex Rins, Luis Salom and Maverick Vinales, the last who has yet to deliver on his pre-season status as title favourite and, unlike his two compatriots, has yet to win in the 2013 season.