Honda NC750X – the case for fuel economy

'With the recent double-whammy of financial rating downgrades set to wreak havoc on our economy, however, even bikers are edgy about increased fuel costs,' writes Dries Van der Walt.

WATCH: Bike almost squashes rider

The British MotoGP was reduced to 19 laps after it was halted following a brutal first-lap collision between Loris Baz and Pol Espargaro.

Marquez starts with broken leg - Qatar

2014-03-19 08:24

ON THE BACK FOOT: 2013 MotoGP champion in action at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia 2013. Image: AFP


LONDON, England - The broken leg is mending fast but Honda's Marc Marquez will start his MotoGP title defence on the back foot in Qatar on Sunday March 23 2014.

The 21-year-old Spaniard fractured the fibula in his right leg while dirt-biking six weeks earlier.

The injury meant he missed two of his team's three pre-season tests in Malaysia and Australia and has not ridden a MotoGP bike since February 6 2014.


Marquez said: "It was very disappointing to misstwo tests but the good news is that I'm getting better and the bone is mending. I've been exercising more, so I'll have to see how I am in Qatar. I don't expect to be 100% but I will try my hardest.

"The important thing is to take some points and be 100% by Round 2 in Austin, Texas."

Marquez was third on his MotoGP debut in Qatar in 2013 after winning the 2012 Moto2 race and went on to chalk up six wins.

Team mate and injury-prone compatriot Dani Pedrosa did plenty of laps in testing and has been putting in extra time in the gym to ensure he is in the best shape.


Pedrosa has the fewest worries of Spain's crop of top riders, with Yamaha's double World champion and 2013 runner-up Jorge Lorenzo undergoing three operations in the off-season after breaking a  collarbone in 2013.

Lorenzo said: "I'm not in shape. I started gym and I'm far from being 100%."

Lorenzo's team mate Valentino Rossi struggled with Bridgestone's new tyres in Malaysia but dominated the test at Australia's Phillip Island.

Moto2 champion Pol Espargaro, the latest Spanish addition to the top category, will be riding with a broken collarbone when he makes his debut on a Tech3 Yamaha. He had a titanium plate inserted after crashing in the final pre-season test for non-factory teams in Qatar on March 9 2014.


His older brother Aleix will also be on track as the Spaniards become the first siblings to race each other in the top category since Nicky and Lee Hayden at the 2010 US GP at Laguna Seca.

Britain's Cal Crutchlow will make his Ducati debut with the Italian team which has given up Factory status and taken the gamble of switching to the Open class. That means Ducati will have to use standard control units and software but can use four more litres of fuel per race, softer tyres and have a bigger allocation of engines.

Ducati general manager Luigi Dall'Igna said: "We have to keep developing our bikes throughout the season to improve our competitiveness and the factory option appears to be too restrictive for our needs."

Britain's Scott Redding, Frenchman Mike Di Meglio and Australian Broc Parks will  make their MotoGP debut.

Calendar for the 2014 MotoGP season starting in Qatar on Sunday

March 23 - Qatar, Doha
April 13 - Grand Prix of the Americas. Austin, Texas
April 27 - Argentina, Termas de Rio Hondo
May 4 - Spain, Jerez
May 18 - France, Le Mans
June 1 - Italy, Mugello
June 15 - Catalunya, Barcelona
June 28 - Netherlands, Assen
July 13 - Germany, Sachsenring
Aug 10 - Indianapolis (U.S.)
Aug 17 - Czech Republic, Brno
Aug 31 - Britain, Silverstone
Sept 14 - San Marino, Misano
Sept 28 - Aragon, Motorland Aragon (Spain)
Oct 12 - Japan, Motegi
Oct 19 - Australia, Phillip Island
Oct 26 - Malaysia, Sepang
Nov 9 - Valencia, Ricardo Tormo (Spain)

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 MotoGP season – fresh reports every day.

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