With Marc Marquez currently 30 points ahead in the overall standings, it’s coming up to make-or-break time for the Spaniard’s Honda Repsol teammate, Dani Pedrosa.
The 27-year-old was in mercurial form at the end of last season, but has simply failed to get back into gear since returning from a collarbone injury earlier this year.
Although one of the sport’s biggest figures in recent years, Pedrosa is yet to win a world title, despite coming close on several occasions.
Having turned to MotoGP in 2006, the Honda rider has done incredibly well to finish in the top three of the championship’s overall standings on five occasions, but he has lacked the finishing touch.
This year promises to tell a similar story, and unless Pedrosa can unleash some magic in San Marino this weekend, one would have to believe that the title is as good Marquez’s.
Not one rider could get within 0.5 seconds of Marquez in qualifying practice, according to Matthew Birt:
Nobody within 0.5s of Marquez in QP2 and only Lorenzo, Rossi and Pedrosa within a second— Matthew Birt (@birtymotogp) September 14, 2013
Despite being just 20 years of age, the starlet has been a massive breath of fresh air, winning no less than five stages and never finishing outside of the top three, save for one retirement in Italy.
With four of those wins coming in the last five events, it seems Marquez is as fired up as any, and it would be folly to rely on the youngster dropping points.
It’s that exact passion that Pedrosa seems to have lacked in recent months, sometimes playing it safe when something with more guile was needed.
Of course, at 27, the Sabadell native will presumably have plenty of time left to challenge his budding compatriot, but it’s hard to see exactly where Marquez’s drop in form will emerge from.
Can anyone dislodge Marquez this season and if so, who?
As far as team matters go, Honda Repsol are evidently the world’s power players at the moment, with Marquez situated firmly at the top of their order.
Bar a devastating loss of confidence, the 2013 season seems likely to continue running in favour of the championship’s current leader who, with another win in Misano this Sunday, could stretch his lead to an even more indomitable 35 points, if not more.
It’s not as if Marquez is the only worry on Pedrosa’s mind, either, with the likes of Valntino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo ready to pounce should the Spaniard slip up in the slightest.
This makes it slightly harder for Pedrosa to take the necessary risks, lest he have to settle for even less than second should things not go his way.
For the competition’s three-time runner-up, it looks set to be another campaign of close, but no cigar. If that’s not to be the case, a move must be made in San Marino, lest the last five legs be little more than a routine outing for Marquez.