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Mystic Mac's 2014 MotoGP predictions

Thu, 06 Feb 2014

There is no real off season in Moto GP.  Although we complain about being starved of racing, for those at the sharp end, in little more than two months they have new bikes to assemble, team staff to put in place and sponsors to nail down that will pay for it all.  This time frame is also tight for riders, as it seems more every year go straight under the surgeon’s knife after the last round and spend the short winter recuperating for the season ahead.

The 2014 Moto GP championship looks like a cracker as apart from the ten full factory riders we now have at least eight non factory riders with properly competitive machinery.  We also have five Brits on the grid, two with podium potential.  Whatever happens though (providing you have BT Sport) you can just sit back and enjoy watching the incredible Marc Marquez do things that shouldn’t be possible.

Speaking of whom, I didn’t believe a Rossi replacement would come this soon.  And when I say replacement, I mean a rider that is the full package.  Although in some ways quite different to Vale, he’s an equally phenomenal talent plus a very likeable character that appeals to the masses and although respectful to his rivals off track, deadly competitive in the heat of battle.  Being young and good looking he’s obviously a dream for sponsors and the sport in general.  Marquez has evolved in his own way but thankfully into a perfect replacement for our sport when the VR steps down.

With the eagerly anticipated Sepang Moto GP testing in full swing I thought it was time for Mystic Mac to pontificate on the upcoming season. 

Marc Marquez

Difficult to see who can challenge him but the nature of racing is the defeated work extra hard in the off season and often come back stronger.  I’ve haven’t seen anyone loved quite as much by HRC since Freddie Spencer so with that kind of support he’ll be hard to beat.  His need to continually push the envelope might be the only thing to catch him out.

Jorge Lorenzo

Marquez made him an even better rider in 2013 so he’ll continue with his amazing opening laps and super consistent fast race pace.  He also seems super aggressive now so I’m expecting some good ding dongs between the Spaniards.  Rossi’s development request could possibly help Jorge just like the last time they were team mates. 

Dani Pedrosa

Casey Stoner rates this man and if his bad luck with injuries can disappear I think his greater experience may help him to push MM.  Having a Spanish team mate can only be good as the feedback to the team comes back in the same language.

Valentino Rossi

He’s my hero but the truth is he was the 4th best rider last year.  A new crew chief and a wrong way round helmet design might help but another truth is when he left Yamaha in 2010 his team mate Lorenzo was stronger.  I pray Yamaha have built him the perfect bike and he can deliver in Qatar again but this time keep the momentum going all season long.

Cal Crutchlow

It’s ironic that the more Cal beat himself up last year the faster he rode so on a factory Yamaha this year I’m sure he would have joined the aliens.  Many people of great experience and intelligence have tried to fix the Ducati but it seems only the special skills of Casey Stoner could give it any consistency with results.  So far in testing Cal and Dovi are still around 1.5s off the pace but the optimist in me has to say it is early days.  There is no more determined rider on the grid so I hope that tenacity is rewarded.

Bradley Smith

There is no question Bradley has the talent, work ethic and commitment to make it in Moto GP.  He is also his own man and confident which is everything in sport.  His ability to ride with nasty injuries last year proved how tough he is and his pace at the final Valencia test suggested podiums are now possible.        

Scott Redding

I’m just relieved to see Scott on a bike that is more suited to his size and also riding one where he won’t have any power to weight issues.  Having a two year deal is perfect for learning and being in the Honda family can only be good for the future.  A season of point scoring finishes will have him ready to fight much closer to the front in 2015.

Michael Laverty

Michael has a tough season ahead but this man never stops smiling so I hope the PBM Team can continually develop their machines as the season progresses.  Michaels had some impressive rides in both wet and dry conditions last year and with a season under his belt he’ll be an even stronger rider this time round. 

Leon Camier

Great to see Leon back in the GP paddock.  For sure he’ll get the best from his Ioda ART machine but I fear there will be riders with less talent on superior machinery so it could be a tough season.  His experience and ability isn’t in question so I hope he is rewarded with points scoring positions.  

By Niall Mackenzie

See also: I'm buying a Honda SH300i scooter, MotoGP Teams Complete First Sepang Pre-Season Test, MotoGP Teams Complete First Sepang Pre-Season Test.