Collision with Lorenzo shows Marquez’s character

MARC Marquez may have already made history by becoming the youngest MotoGP Premier Class winner of all time, but his final-corner scuffle with Jorge Lorenzo at Jerez has truly propelled him onto the world stage.

Careering into the world champion’s Yamaha – on Lorenzo’s very own corner, no less – epitomised the fearless ambition that has accompanied the 20-year-old throughout his blossoming racing career.

Swapping paint and banging fairings may be viewed as the norm in the lower classes, but in MotoGP – with big bikes and bigger reputations – such confrontation takes on a new meaning.

It had been coming though.

In the MotoGP curtain-raiser in Qatar, Marquez showed himself happy to joust with his idol Valentino Rossi, although he was just about put in his place by the veteran Italian.

An historic win in Texas followed, although his earlier dominance on a Honda-friendly circuit in pre-season testing took the slightest gloss off that triumph.

Teammate and fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa was the more experienced rider embarrassed by Marquez on this occasion, as he was passed and beaten to the chequered flag by the team’s ‘second rider’.

But it was the ruthless hunting down of Lorenzo and brazen pass on the final bend in Spain – very nearly punting the champion into the gravel at the same time – which has made the biggest impression.

It demonstrates how little respect Marquez has for any adversary on the track that stands between him and victory.

Such an attitude has landed him in hot water before – penalties incurred for scrapes with the likes of Simone Corsi and Ratthapark Wilairot stand out amongst a glittering career in the lower classes.

But it is also this attitude that already has people whispering of his ability to challenge Rossi’s haul of seven premier titles.

It has also served as a pedestal to highlight the Repsol Honda rider’s precocious talent – after being banished to the back of the grid in Valencia last season for the Corsi incident, he still won the race in spectacular fashion.

Make no mistake, his move in Jerez was not a great piece of riding from Marquez.

He had every right to challenge Lorenzo’s inside line heading into turn 13, but going in so hot that you leave your opponent with no chance whatever of taking the corner themselves is both inexcusable and dangerous.

The collision will have hurt Lorenzo, and not just physically.

Marquez may be supremely talented, but many observers have – up until now – felt a title challenge would be beyond the youngster in his first full season.

He now leads the standings by three points.

For title-holder Lorenzo to trail his compatriot in his maiden campaign is likely to be both embarrassing and worrying.

And for Lorenzo to have received a very public bloodied nose from the young upstart makes for a very interesting race in Le Mans on May 19.

The move itself bore an uncanny resemblance to that of Rossi on great rival Sete Gibernau in 2005.

Rossi was already top dog as the two tussled for the title that year, yet it was still a highly symbolic moment as it underlined Rossi’s superiority and determination not to yield to his nemesis, even on his own turf.

Marquez and Lorenzo may not share quite the same levels of animosity as Rossi and Gibernau, but it could represent an equally significant blow in the balance of power in this year’s title race.

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