Marc Marquez sits with a perfect 150 points after winning each of the first six rounds of the MotoGP championship. He has everything to lose from this point forward, and would almost certainly win the championship by simply landing on the podium each week in the remaining 12 rounds.
On the other hand, Jorge Lorenzo has everything to gain after a disastrous start to the series. A close second place finish to Marquez in the last round at Mugello two weeks ago, may portend a shift at the front of the pack in several of the remaining rounds.
Last year, when Marquez won the championship as a rookie, you could see him back off a bit and take a safe place on the podium rather than battle Lorenzo near the end of the series. With an 85 point lead over Lorenzo after the first six rounds, can we expect Marquez to start riding defensively (and conservatively) when the inevitable battles ensue with Lorenzo at the front?
Lorenzo is an extremely aggressive rider, and he and Marquez touched at least once at Mugello during their fight.
The other factor is the improvement of the Yamaha, particularly on the brakes. Recent statements by both Lorenzo and teammate Valentino Rossi indicate the Yamaha has greatly improved in this area, bringing it closer to the performance of the Repsol Hondas.
The Repsol Hondas have long since mastered the electronics associated with clutch-less downshifts while entering the corner, and Yamaha is closing in on this technological advantage.
So will an aggressive Lorenzo, with an improved bike, start to win races against Marquez soon? Time will tell, of course, but we might see the first Marquez defeat this weekend at Catalunya.