PRAGUE: Spain’s Marc Marquez is one step from wiping out a long-standing record as he eyes an 11th win in 11 races this season at the Czech MotoGP in Brno on Sunday.
Italian legend Giacomo Agostini won the opening 10 races of the premier class season in 1968, 1969 and 1970 at a time when he dominated the sport.
And Marquez, the 21-year-old reigning champion, equalled that feat at Indianapolis last Sunday, when he also became the first rider since Australian Mick Doohan in 1997 to win 10 races in a row.
However, no one has ever won the first 11 races of a season — in part because Agostini’s perfect season in 1968 comprised only 10 events.
After 10 of 18 MotoGP races this year, Marquez leads the championship standings with a perfect 250 points, 89 ahead of his Repsol Honda team-mate, and fellow Catalan, Dani Pedrosa.
Italy’s Valentino Rossi is third, four points behind Pedrosa and 40 ahead of Yamaha colleague Jorge Lorenzo of Spain.
Last year, Marquez won the Brno race to become the first MotoGP rookie ever to win four successive premier class events.
“The target is to fight for victory, like always,” he said about the race on the 5.4km circuit in the southern Czech city.
At Indianapolis last Sunday, Marquez needed 10 laps to offset a lacklustre start from pole position.
Then, like so often this season, he breezed past both Lorenzo and Rossi in a single bend and raced ahead to gain nearly two seconds on Lorenzo and more than six on Rossi on the finish line.
But Brno might turn out to be a different story.
“Everyone knows that historically Yamaha are strong here so we’ll have to work hard from Friday to give ourselves the best chance on Sunday,” Marquez told the crash.net website.
Meanwhile, Rossi, who has won five premier class races at Brno, called the local track “fantastic.”
“But in the last years I never did a good performance there. We have to concentrate, study corner by corner every practice, try to do the maximum,” he said.
The weather might be an issue as forecasters predict rain at least for Saturday, which might suit the experienced Yamaha duo.
Nevertheless, Agostini himself said last week he would not be too surprised if Marquez made 2014 a perfect season.
“I think he is capable of winning every race,” the 72-year-old ‘Ago’ told the Italian sports daily Gazetta dello Sport.
“It would be an incredible record, not just for him but also for the manufacturer, because if the bike doesn’t get you to
the finish line the rest is pointless,” added the 15-time world champion.