Rossi: Honda long-run pace makes Marquez favourite for MotoGP title

Marc Marquez is currently the 2017 MotoGP favourite because Honda has superior long-run pace to Yamaha, reckons Valentino Rossi

Rossi: Honda long-run pace makes Marquez favourite for MotoGP title

Though Honda had an ostensibly troubled first test at Sepang a fortnight ago and did not top the timesheets until the opening day of this week's Phillip Island running on Wednesday, Rossi is adamant Marquez has looked the man to beat throughout testing.

Rossi believes Marquez's speed on old tyres is more significant than the headline times his new Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales has been setting.

"Vinales was very strong in Valencia and Sepang but if you check the times deeply Marquez was faster in Valencia, in Malaysia and today," said Rossi.

"So I think that he's the man to beat.

"On pace he's always very constant and they work very much for the race with used tyres. I think he's the reference."

Asked if he thought Marquez's downbeat comments about the Honda were deliberate understatement, Rossi suggested the reigning champion was trying to lure his rivals into complacency.

"He's making an understatement," said Rossi.

"You always try to say a little bit less or make it more negative because you always want to be the surprise in Qatar.

"Seriously I already know that he's the fastest."

Rossi ended the first day of testing in Australia second to Marquez, which he felt was a reasonable result after a tough start to the day.

"We started quite badly this morning and suffered a bit too much," he said.

"I didn't have a good feeling with the bike and every time I tried to push I didn't feel good.

"In the break we checked the data and the team worked well to improve the bike a lot and in the afternoon I was more competitive.

"At the end with the new tyre I did a good lap and second is OK. 1m29.6s for the first day is not so bad."

But he believes Yamaha's long-run pace is still a weakness.

"We have a lot of work to do especially for pace with used tyres," he said.

"We have to work on the bike because first of all we still don't understand it 100% to find maximum potential.

Vinales, who was fourth quickest behind his Suzuki replacement Andrea Iannone, agreed with Rossi that Yamaha needed to be better at looking after its Michelins over a race distance.

"For sure I want to try to get more from the tyre life," he said.

"Here it gets used really, really fast.

"We're going to try tomorrow to improve that area."

shares
comments
MotoGP testing: Marc Marquez leads Valentino Rossi at Phillip Island
Previous article

MotoGP testing: Marc Marquez leads Valentino Rossi at Phillip Island

Next article

Honda MotoGP bike still 'missing something' says Marc Marquez

Honda MotoGP bike still 'missing something' says Marc Marquez
The talent-outweighing ambition that will kill Ducati’s 2022 MotoGP title hopes Plus

The talent-outweighing ambition that will kill Ducati’s 2022 MotoGP title hopes

OPINION: For the fourth time in 2022, Francesco Bagnaia has made a costly error while battling other riders. Crashing while chasing one point at the Japanese Grand Prix has lost him eight to a struggling Fabio Quartararo. With just four rounds remaining and a history of errors in high-pressure situations, Bagnaia and Ducati need a serious rethink to stop its best opportunity of a title in 15 years slipping away

The unique advantage Ducati must now use to win the 2022 MotoGP title Plus

The unique advantage Ducati must now use to win the 2022 MotoGP title

Ducati has littered the grid with eight strong motorcycles that has ensured it has had at least one rider stand on the podium at every grand prix in 2022. The drama of the Aragon Grand Prix has thrust Francesco Bagnaia well and truly into title contention with five races to go, and Ducati must now consider utilising a unique strength it has so far been reticent to embrace

MotoGP
Sep 19, 2022
How KTM failed one of its brightest MotoGP prospects Plus

How KTM failed one of its brightest MotoGP prospects

Reigning Moto2 champion Remy Gardner’s career has been derailed by KTM’s decision not to retain him at Tech3 for 2023. Amid difficult circumstances, Gardner hasn’t shamed himself. But KTM’s apparent reasoning for dropping him raises questions about its handling of its young riders and the unrealistic expectations placed on them

MotoGP
Sep 6, 2022
Why it won’t just be Marquez’s speed that saves Honda in MotoGP Plus

Why it won’t just be Marquez’s speed that saves Honda in MotoGP

OPINION: Honda is in the midst of a second winless season in the space of three years. The absence of the injured Marc Marquez has been a major contributing factor, but HRC’s inability to alter its own approach has seen it slide down the order. Marquez returned to the MotoGP paddock in Austria and provided a rallying cry Honda needed to hear.

MotoGP
Aug 22, 2022
The signs Quartararo’s 2022 MotoGP title is slipping away from him Plus

The signs Quartararo’s 2022 MotoGP title is slipping away from him

Prior to the summer break, the 2022 MotoGP title looked like it was Fabio Quartararo’s to lose. But a crash at Assen and the consequential penalty he had to serve last weekend at Silverstone stopped him from capitalising on a main rival’s injury woes, while a resurgence from another, plus the rise of a former team-mate, look set to conspire against the Yamaha rider

MotoGP
Aug 8, 2022
Why Marquez’s toughest MotoGP foe is stopping at the right time Plus

Why Marquez’s toughest MotoGP foe is stopping at the right time

On the eve of the British Grand Prix, Andrea Dovizioso announced that he will be retiring from MotoGP after September’s San Marino GP. The timing of his departure raised eyebrows, but his reasoning remains sensible and what has happened this year should not diminish a hard-built legacy

MotoGP
Aug 6, 2022
Why a Suzuki refugee feels he deserves MotoGP's toughest challenge Plus

Why a Suzuki refugee feels he deserves MotoGP's toughest challenge

Alex Rins’ MotoGP future was plunged into sudden doubt when Suzuki elected to quit the series at the end of 2022. Securing a deal with Honda to join LCR, he will now tread a path that many have fallen off from. But it was a move he felt his status deserved, and it’s a challenge – he tells Autosport - he faces with his eyes wide open…

MotoGP
Jul 27, 2022
How Formula 1 has driven MotoGP's changing nature Plus

How Formula 1 has driven MotoGP's changing nature

The hiring of technicians from Formula 1 has clearly contributed to a recent change in the MotoGP landscape, with the role of engineers gaining greater significance relative to the riders. Here's how this shift has come about

MotoGP
Jul 19, 2022