Ryder Notes: A Horse Called Marquez
by julian ryder, on the ground in 'tina
Saturday, April 26, 2014

We're going to have to invent a new shorthand phrase. I think it'll have to be adapted from the old horse-racing idea of betting without the favorite, in which you simply pretend that the nag that is so obviously going to win does not exist and get on with gambling on the rest.

Right now, that horse the punters are trying to ignore is called Marc Marquez. On the new Termas de Rio Hondo circuit he has made a habit of pulling out enormous leads in most sessions leaving the rest to struggle to close the gap. As soon as anyone gets close, he just eases away again. In qualifying Jorge Lorenzo had to pretend that he was pleased with second on the grid all but three-quarters of a second behind Marc.

Actually, Jorge may well be relieved about his first front row of the year and Aleix Espargaro equally pleased with a strong weekend so far and fourth on the grid ... but I'm not sure many others are happy. It's really difficult to tell you what's happening because the track is still evolving rapidly. Very few teams are sure what tyre they'll use for the race, with for once both options a real possibility, "I have a choice!" said a slightly surprised Valentino Rossi. Expect Marquez, and maybe others, to use the hard option. Nicky Hayden is thinking about using the soft rear, Bridgestone are trying to dissuade him.

The wonderful retro flavor of the event continues to delight, even the chaotic traffic feels like Jerez in the old days. In Europe by the end of last season the stands were turning orange for Marquez; here they're still yellow for Vale. It doesn't feel like a race for Argentina, it feels like a race for the continent of South America. I've seen the flags of just about every country on this continent, and if I actually knew what the flag of Ecuador looks like I might be able to tell you I've seen them all.

The good news is that the track has paid its dues for this race and therefore we'll be coming back next year.


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