MotoGP: Yamaha’s nightmare is coming to life
Honda ace Marc Marquez is the master of shock and awe in MotoGP.
And he now has Yamaha stars Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo looking over their shoulders.
For Rossi and Lorenzo, their worst nightmare would be Marquez mounting a remarkable comeback and becoming a shock threat to steal the MotoGP world championship.
Marquez admits it will be "really difficult" but he has the momentum of two consecutive victories going into Sunday’s Czech Grand Prix.
Can he claw back the 56-point deficit to Rossi over the next eight races and become a championship contender?
And, along the way, wipe out also the 47-point advantage that Lorenzo holds after 10 of 18 races?
If anyone can, then it is Marquez, MotoGP’s youngest ever world champion who continues to impose his winning ways.
After an early season form slump, Marquez has won the previous two races, Germany and Indianapolis.
Add his dramatic second place in the Dutch TT prior to that and Marquez has scored 70 out of possible 75 points over the past three races.
Rossi has scored 57 points in the same period and Lorenzo 47.
Little wonder then that the Marquez momentum forces Rossi and Lorenzo to go all out to slow the Marquez surge at Brno.
While it remains an improbable scenario that Marquez can pull off a miracle third world title, Rossi and Lorenzo know better than to write off the precocious Spaniard.
And Rossi has a second problem: Dealing with Lorenzo, his very fast and confident Yamaha teammate.
“I like Brno better than Indianapolis,” said Rossi. “Jorge Lorenzo is very strong in Brno. Marquez will be strong there, as he was in Indy. We’ll have to do the maximum again to not lose any more points, but I’m feeling positive and I think that we will make it a good weekend," Rossi said.
Rossi won his first ever grand prix victory at Brno in 1996 (125cc) and has taken five premier-class wins there, although the most recent was in 2009. He was third in this race last year behind Dani Pedrosa and Lorenzo.
Marquez won at Indy last Sunday with Lorenzo second, pushing Rossi back to third place.
Marquez winning races will build the pressure on his rivals and he is prepared to put aside thoughts of the championship play until the final race in Valencia.
“For me the target is to win races and it’s not in my hands the other podium results, like Jorge second and Valentino third (at Indy),” Marquez said of his title chances.
“But I was 65 points behind and now I am 56. I am closer. Still I believe, but I must be honest. It will be really difficult.
"I know that both Yamaha riders have a really good pace and, if we want to beat them every race, or try to be ready to fight with them, I must work a lot, especially at some circuits."
Ahead of Sunday’s 11th round at Brno, Rossi leads with 195 points with Lorenzo on 186 and Marquez 139. Lorenzo has won four races so far, with three apiece to Rossi and Marquez.