Marc Marquez - Four races. Four Wins. Marc Marquez leads the Honda quest to recapture top honors in the premiere class. He leads the Spanish charge to the dominant nation in Moto GP racing. More to the point, however, he leads the race championship in the points standing. Sitting pretty on 213 points Marquez leads his closest rival (and Honda teammate) Dani Pedrosa by 26 points. While just a single point over the "magical" number of 25, that many points in the bank gives Marquez a distinct advantage over the field. With his closest rivals struggling with various combinations of injury, mechanical woes and the pressure of either learning his new riding style or adjusting their own to counter it MotoGP's most impressive rookie in a long time has given himself a cushion of one entire race that he can play with until season's end. With the Repsol man eking out a minimum of 5 points over the competition at every race time is quickly running out for someone, anyone, to figure out a way to snatch the advantage back. Not that snatching has traditionally been a tactic that worked well against Marquez in the past. However with his riding style becoming more refined and focused, perhaps a bit of aggression is what is required to ruffle his feathers in interrupt the very successful rhythm that he has settled into.
2012 - Moto 2 Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol - 3rd 2011 - Moto 2 Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol - DNF 2010 - 125cc Derbi Red Bull Ajo Motorsport - 1st
Dani Pedrosa - Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Dani Pedrosa hasn't finished 2nd to rookie teammate all season, but it has happened with an uncomfortable regularity starting with the season opener in Qatar. Honda's veteran rider has not been helped by sustaining a shoulder injury that has hampered his pace for the past three races. After almost a month off for the summer break during which he could recover, Pedrosa was able to muster a much improved effort at Brno to rally into a second place finish. Though the Silverstone race comes fast on the heels of that outing, Pedrosa must endure one more quick turnaround before his healing shoulder can be afforded a two week break before round 13 in San Marino. The Honda ace knows the challenge placed before him - challenge and beat two very strong competitors to claim him first MotoGPchampionship - and is not blind to the diffuculty of the task. Still, this is racing in Britain and adverse weather conditions may yet play a part in the drama that will unfold. Pedrosa for one will be looking to pounce on any opportunity to regain ground on the championship standings.
Jorge Lorenzo - "Heart". If you had to describe the reigning world champion in a single word, it would have to be heart; and he's put a lot of it into his racing this season. From a 24 hour turn-around from surgeon's table to race track, to forgoing a much needed break for healing after damaging his already mangled shoulder in the hopes of salvaging any points possible Lorenzo's dedication to defending his championship is without question. Yet after the 11th round in Brno the podium order told the tale of his season. Third in the race he sits a staggering 44 points behind leader Marquez on the charts. While not insurmountable, the deficit presents a healthy challenge that is not helped in the least by Yamaha's technological disadvantage. The pressure to release a seamless shift transmission similar to Honda's piles on with every event, but Yamaha's version is not yet ready for prime time. Lorenzo remains optimistic on his chances, however. Both championship leaders are only human, after all. Either may be pressured into making a mistake that could blow the championship wide open again. Lorenzo's best chance may be the same tactic that he used less than a week ago - get out front, make the biggest gap possible while the Honda's develop their rhythm, then make his M1 as wide as humanly possible if all else fails.
2012 - Yamaha Factory Racing M1 - 1st 2011 - Yamaha Factory Racing M1 - DNF 2010 - Yamaha Factory Racing M1 - 1st
Alvaro Bautista - It's never a good thing when the highlights of your racing career is a who's-who list of riders that you have managed to collect on your way to the kitty litter. That the Spanish rider is talented is without question, having posted very credible results aboard the light blue Suzuki as a single rider team before advancing to the San Carlo Gresini customer Honda. Perhaps it was the years spent over-riding a lesser bike for results, perhaps it was youthful exuberance getting the better of him; whatever the cause he gained a reputation for crashing first and asking questions later. Fortunately (for Go & Fun and anyone in the vicinity of turn 1 at least), age and experience seem to be winning the battle of piss and vinegar. Despite a few problems this season Bautista has been a very solid top 10 rider who has begun to finish in the top 5 more frequently as the season progresses. His front row qualifying effort in Brno was a career best, and though he fell back during the race to the factory backed riders, Bautista continues to work his way forward and earn the kind of results expected of a veteran rider.