The Manchild Emerges
by staff
Thursday, November 15, 2012

Marc Marquez grew up from a promising boy to a main man in just 28 laps Wednesday at Valencia, lapping just a second behind Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa on his first day on a 1000cc MotoGP bike.

Reigning Moto2 World Champion Marquez turned a top lap of 1:33.403 on his RC213V, good for seventh overall. Pedrosa was quickest at 1:32.322.

Marquez didn't complete any laps in the wet and mixed conditions Tuesday at Valencia. But he was able to turn 28 laps on slick tires when skies cleared Wednesday afternoon, improving nearly every lap. Marquez's best lap was his second-to-last.

"My feeling is so good," Marquez said. "The first laps were incredible to feel the power all the time, and maybe the wheelie was the most difficult to keep on the floor. The most important is that every time I go out, I improve, I try many things. I try also to change my riding style compared with Moto2 because there is quite some difference.

"At the exit of the corner, you have to concentrate to lift up quite a lot the bike. In Moto2, for example, you use more lean angle and also the first part of the corner, too, on the brakes to go in, which is also a big difference."

Marquez's performance caught the eye of one established star, Cal Crutchlow of Tech 3, who was second overall Wednesday at 1:32.671. HRC Marketing and Communication honcho Livio Suppo said Crutchlow told him Wednesday that Marquez will contend for the World Championship in 2014, complimenting the Spaniard on his speed and fearlessness.

Overlooked in Marquez Mania was the solid performance by Ducati riders Nick Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso. Hayden was fourth overall at 1:32.956, six-tenths behind Pedrosa, while riding with a new frame, new suspension link and tweaked electronics. Dovi was sixth at 1:33.238 on just his second day on the Desmosedici.

Hayden's best lap is arguably the closest Ducati has been to the leading bike in any dry session since the false dawn of competitiveness for Valentino Rossi in September at Misano.

Also jilted by the Marquez lovefest was the performance of the other premier-class rookies, Andrea "Crazy Joe" Iannone and Bradley Smith.

Iannone was ninth overall at 1:33.833 on the Pramac "junior" Ducati, less than a second behind Ducati factory flagbearer Hayden. Smith ended up 11th overall at 1:34.538 on a Tech 3 Yamaha, 1.9 seconds behind teammate Crutchlow.


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