Valentino Rossi believes the most ominous thing for Marc Marquez’s MotoGP rivals is how much more in control the champion has appeared in 2014.Marquez wrapped up his second MotoGP title in as many years at last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. After winning the crown as a rookie in a last-round decider with Jorge Lorenzo in 2013, this season he built an unassailable cushion by taking victory in the first 10 races of the season.
Rossi said the rookie title was the more impressive achievement in his eyes, but the more refined Marquez of 2014 was a worrying prospect.
“For me personally, Marc was more impressive last year than this year, because to win in the first season was fantastic – an incredible job,” said Rossi. “Marc is a rider who is faster from the beginning with everything. He’s naturally talented to ride any type of bike.
“The question at the end of last year for his rivals was how much he could improve compared to the first season, because usually from the rookie season to the second season the good riders improve quite a lot. Unfortunately for us, he was able to improve – not a lot about his speed, but about his riding style, the way to use the bike, the way to brake and to accelerate.
“He remained very aggressive, but now it looks like the situation is more under control for him. Last year sometimes he risked too much.”
Marquez’s 2013 title rival Lorenzo believes that injuries for himself and Dani Pedrosa played a part in last year’s result, so feels that 2014 is the year when Marquez has really proved himself.
“Maybe the mistakes at Aragon and Misano stopped his season being perfect, but at the other tracks he was always riding at a very high level,” said Lorenzo. “Very aggressive, but also very consistent, without the crashes that he did in the first half of last year.
“Last year he won the championship as a rookie, which had never happened, but he probably had some benefit from the injuries to myself and Dani. This year he has been the best in general, with a big difference to the rest. He completely deserves the championship.”