World champion Jorge Lorenzo has forced his rivals to adopt a high-risk race strategy in a bid to end his winning streak in Sunday’s Aragon Grand Prix.
Lorenzo has nothing to lose and knows that without a string of race wins he cannot shut down the 34 point advantage held by Marquez.
Lorenzo has won the past two races in Italy and England.
He has become the master of lightning starts and an audacious race plan built on opening a winning gap on new tires and daring his rivals to chase him down.
Rossi has qualified fourth, just 0.158s off Marquez’s pole time, for Sunday’s 23 lap race. Lorenzo is second on the grid just one-hundredth of second slower than Marquez.
Nine-time world champion Rossi says there is only one way to respond to the tactics of his Yamaha teammate.
“Jorge starts from the front row and he is fast at the beginning and for sure he will try this strategy again,” Rossi said.
“So I will need to give the maximum and ride the first two laps like in qualifying and try to stay with him. I know Jorge is a little stronger in this way at the start of the race.”
Marquez admits that fast-starts are a big weapon in Lorenzo’s battle plan and one of his weakest.
And he only has to look to the example of Honda’s now retired 2011 world champion Casey Stoner to know that the RC213V can be taken out hard and fast from the start.
“I need to improve the starts,” Marquez said.
“Casey Stoner was able to do this with the Honda so I just need to try and be more competitive in the first laps of the race.”
Last week in Misano, Lorenzo pulled a two second gap in two laps and was untouchable.
That Misano win, on the back of his victory at Silverstone earlier this month, has revived Lorenzo’s title hopes after his mid-season collarbone injuries.
Honda race boss Shuhei Nakamoto believes that both his riders, Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, need to improve their starts in bid to blunt the early speed of Yamaha rival Lorenzo.
Like Lorenzo it was Stoner’s ability and confidence to maximize his early race pace on full tanks and fresh tires that was the platform for many victories.
“Honda riders have to try something different because Casey was able to do this,” Nakamoto said.
“He could be fast from the beginning, so this is not the machine but more riding. Riders must attack more in the first three laps.
“Before only Casey did this and even when he was at Ducati he did the same. This means it is down to the rider. The (Misano) winner was Jorge, not Yamaha.”
Rossi finished fourth in the last four races and has not been on the podium since his third place at the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.
Of the 13 races so far Marquez and Lorenzo have won five each, Pedrosa two with Rossi claiming just a single victory.