JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, Spain: Marc Marquez (pictured) eyes a fourth win in four races this season in Spain on Sunday but faces a Yamaha challenge from Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo who have eight elite class MotoGP wins between them at Jerez.
World champion Marquez, lining up for his 100th race in all categories, has swept all three grands prix so far at Qatar, the United States and Argentina.
Last weekend in Argentina, Marquez finished just ahead of Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa with Lorenzo, who led the race in the early stages, eventually finishing almost four seconds off the pace in third.
Rossi was close to five seconds behind the world champion.
But despite Honda’s domination of the 2014 campaign, Marquez isn’t getting carried away by his chances of a fourth successive season triumph at a circuit where he has yet to win.
Nine-time world champion Rossi, in contrast, has six wins in the MotoGP class at Jerez with Yamaha teammate Lorenzo, two. Furthermore, Pedrosa won in 2013 as well as 2008.
“In Jerez, I know Dani and Jorge are very strong,” admitted Marquez, who was second last year after clashing with Lorenzo in the early stages.
“The crowd and atmosphere is very special and it gives you special motivation to perform at your maximum level.”
Rossi was fourth in Jerez in 2013 but stands at third in this season’s world title race, albeit 34 points behind Marquez.
“Jerez is one of the most special and important Grand Prix weekends of the season, the track is fantastic and there will be a lot of fans so the target is to improve and make the podium,” said the Italian.
“We have to work a lot, the bike is good but we have some weak points which we have to improve to go faster so we can fight with the Hondas.”
Lorenzo, who will be racing in his 200th grand prix on Sunday, is down in seventh spot in the world championship on 22 points, 53 off the lead having seen last week’s third place finish in Argentina come as a welcome boost after his hopes in Austin had been shattered by a jump-start.
The 2010 and 2012 world champion admitted in Argentina that the Hondas were comfortably the early-season powerhouses with Yamaha struggling to match the pace and performance of their fellow Japanese factory team.
“We come back to Europe and I’m so excited to race at home, in Jerez, in front of the Spanish crowd, especially after I’ve got my first podium of 2014 now,” said Lorenzo who will be 27 on Sunday.
“The taste of that podium was really great and sweet after two difficult races.
“The track is always amazing not only because of the layout but also the atmosphere; that is so magical. Obviously this race is going to be tough because both Honda riders are in a very good shape as we saw from Qatar, although Jerez is normally good for Yamaha it is also a special place for Honda. AFP