It’s not often snooker gets a mention on this site but bear with me for a moment. In days gone by I remember the dominance of Steve Davis and then Stephen Hendry and it used to produce differing emotions. One half of me wanted to sit back and enjoy watching a master at work. The other half was willing on every one of their opponents as I longed for a shock result and someone else winning for a change.
Snooker time over and finally onto Moto GP. You see the same emotions are being stirred with the dominance of Marc Marquez. The 2014 season began with ten straight wins for the reigning world champion until the winning streak came to an end in the Czech Republic as he came fourth with Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa winning the race.
That defeat didn’t just give the sport something different for a change but it’s also taken a lot of pressure off the shoulders of the championship leader. Marquez said: “I feel less pressure now as I know everyone was expecting me to win all of them, and it’s the Championship that’s important, not winning every race!” Marquez still has a 77 point lead over Pedrosa with Valentino Rossi a further 13 points behind.
Both Marquez and Pedrosa come to Silverstone this week for the British Moto GP hoping to win the race for the first time in their career. Pedrosa certainly knows the challenge that lies ahead: “This is a fast track with many changes of direction and you need to find a balance for the set up to suit both the slow and the fast corners. The weather in Britain can always be temperamental also, so we’ll have to keep an eye on that.”
Earlier this week, Marquez rode his MotoGP prototype across the Millennium Bridge but all the publicity stunts are over now and it’s back to the business of winning the world title again and getting back on top of the podium.
He’s admitted that the Czech Republic MotoGP was probably his worst race in the sport but he says he’s found a solution during subsequent testing, so beware all his rivals this weekend.
But is this weekend all about the Repsil Honda pair? Valentino Rossi is hoping that he can continue his improvement in recent races: “I’ve started the second half of the season well and I have enjoyed the races. Sadly it wasn’t enough to fight for the victory, we have to keep working to improve our pace until the last lap. Silverstone is a very long and technical track, wide and fast, I like it. It’s very difficult to learn the lines and we haven’t had the best results here. We were better last year, but it was still not enough. This year we are better on braking so we should be able to keep improving.”
While Marquez has yet to record a victory at Silverstone that’s not the case for Jorge Lorenzo who’s won three of the four Motogp held at the track since the sport returned to Silverstone in 2010. Could this race have come at the right time for him? “Everything is improving for us and in the last few weeks we have made big steps with the bike. We are trying to keep improving.”
It promises to be an intriguing weekend and the weather forecast actually looks pretty decent for a change. Now do I sit back and admire the talent of Marquez or hope for another shock victory?
By Steve Ashfield