A controversial question for sure, however, a topic worth discussing.
To set the tone, first, we must say it is no one’s fault but Marc Marquez’s that he is not racing, all the riders can crash and miss races, therefore riders winning a race in the absence of Marc Marquez absolutely does NOT take away from the fact that these riders have won said races. Their achievements are 100% valid.
Since Marc Marquez joined MotoGP in 2013 he has taken 6 premier class titles with 56 wins and an unbelievable 95 podiums, he has dominated the sport and is well and truly on his way to being Marc’ed (see what I did there) in history as one of the greatest riders ever. The issue is, Marquez wins a lot, this isn’t his fault though, the fault lies with his competitors who cannot beat him.
In 2019 MotoGP had 19 races, Marquez finished on the podium in a total of 18 times with one DNF at Austin, Texas, a track he held a 100% win record at due to an issue with his Honda. Aside from this, his worst result was a second-place which he took six times along with 12 wins, obliterating the 383 points record held by Jorge Lorenzo from 2010 and setting the new benchmark of 420.
Therefore, when Marquez is suddenly injured, it creates a whole new dynamic in MotoGP, riders you wouldn’t normally expect to be on the podium are stood there spraying champagne with race winners we never expected. Fabio Quartararo, for example, could not get a win in 2019, he fought fiercely with Marc Marquez but could not obtain this, yet in 2020 he holds the title lead over Andrea Dovizioso after winning twice in Andalucia, becoming the first-ever French multiple race winner in MotoGP.
In Brno, Brad Binder stunned everyone to take his first MotoGP class win, this was the first win for KTM since they joined MotoGP in 2016 and also the first for South Africa in MotoGP.
Brad Binder celebrating his first MotoGP win
We also cannot forget the multiple maiden podiums, this includes Brad Binder who’s win was his first MotoGP podium, however, does not exclude Franco Morbidelli who after spending 2019 in the shadow of his teammate [Quartararo], finally got the sweet taste of champagne stood with Binder and also Johann Zarco who obtained his first Ducati podium.
In Austria we saw 22-year-old Joan Mir step on the MotoGP podium on the Suzuki, an incredible result for the rider who had one of the fastest climbs to MotoGP we’ve ever seen spending just 2 seasons in Moto3 and 1 in Moto2, taking the 2017 Moto3 title on the way.
MotoGP feels a lot more level, the riders are on an equal playing field and are able to duel it out without people expecting the results, for example in Brno and Austria we had two completely different podiums and so far we have seen 9 different riders step on the podium with 3 different winners.
It is a crazy season with so many unexpected results, you absolutely could not write what has happened so far and what is yet to come, with Marc Marquez missing the Styrian GP in Austria, there will be one last chance for the riders to duel without Marc Marquez before he returns in Misano to try and take back his 2019 crown.
What do you think? Is racing better without Marc Marquez, or does MotoGP need Marc Marquez to add that extra spice we are missing? We all know Marquez likes a good fight which we missed in Austria when Dovizioso took the win without the standard last corner manoeuvre.
Featured image – www.motogp.com