HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto said Thursday during the Repsol Honda launch that he would not be surprised to see Marc Marquez standing on the podium after his MotoGP debut April 7 under the lights at Qatar.
Marquez is the most heralded rookie in the premier class since Jorge Lorenzo in 2008. Marquez had the credentials to support such belief from Nakamoto: 2010 125cc World Champion, 2012 Moto2 World Champion, turning laps within one second of teammate Dani Pedrosa during his first ride on a 1000cc Grand Prix bike last November.
Plus Marquez, who turns 20 next month, has proven he is a quick learner in the past.
The Spaniard earned his first World Championship podium finish in just his sixth career 125cc start, placing third at Donington Park in 2008 at age 15. He made even quicker work of that task in Moto2, earning his first career podium finish in the intermediate class by winning at Le Mans in just his fourth start in 2011 at age 18.
Lorenzo placed the performance bar for MotoGP rookies into rarefied air in 2008. He won the pole in each of his first three starts, also finishing on the podium in those races, including a victory at Estoril in just his third career premier-class start.