Marquez would have had edge on Stoner says ex-Honda boss
Thursday 23rd March, 2023 - 9:05am
Marc Marquez would have had the edge on Casey Stoner if they were team-mates, believes Honda MotoGP Team Principal of the day, Livio Suppo.
Marquez became Stoner’s replacement at Repsol Honda when he made his premier class debut in 2013 as the Australian retired.
As such, two of the most talented riders which motorcycle racing arguably has seen have never raced against each other, leading to plenty of speculation about who would prevail in such a contest.
According to Suppo, it would be Marquez.
He put it down to the Spaniard’s calmer demeanour, citing examples such as the famous battle at Laguna Seca between Valentino Rossi and Stoner, and its implications for the championship, as evidence.
“Considering that he retired when he was 27, in my opinion he could have remained safely competitive for another four or five years,” Suppo told Italy’s MOW.
“It is not known how many world championships he would have won, because in the meantime Marc arrived.
“Between the two, Marc would have won. Because I think Casey would have suffered from his [Marquez’s] more light-hearted approach.
“To make you understand, if what happened to Jorge at Jerez in 2013 [final-corner contact] had happened to Casey, when Marc attacked him in a very similar way to what Valentino used to do with Sete Gibernau in 2005, he would have been very angry.
“In 2008 for example, after Laguna Seca, if he had been quiet we would have won that world championship too.
“Instead, he got angry because Valentino could do everything and nobody told him anything, or at least that’s what he thought. This influenced him for the rest of the season.”
The Italian said that the plan was indeed to pair Stoner, who won the 2011 championship for Honda, and Marquez, who has bagged six for the Japanese manufacturer thus far, at its factory team.
“The plan for 2013 was to have a team with Casey and Marc,” stated Suppo.
“Marc was very strong that year but he could also count on the injuries of his main title opponents, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.
“That said, he was still a rider capable of winning his second MotoGP race, one of those riders born every hundred years.
“Surely, it would have been harder to do what he did in 2014, with 10 wins in a row, because Casey was Casey.
“What we can say for sure is that fans would have enjoyed a good show.”
While Stoner is long retired, Marquez will be hoping to have his first season without injury disruption when Round 1 of the 2023 MotoGP world championship gets underway this weekend in Portimao.
How competitive he will be, however, remains an open question, with the 30-year-old expressing pessimism about the RC213V package during pre-season testing.
Honda has reportedly even commissioned Kalex to build a chassis which Marquez could test as soon as the post-race outing at Jerez in May, on the day after the Spanish Grand Prix.
Practice for the Portuguese MotoGP starts on Friday night (AEDT).
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