Four races into the 18-event Red Bull MotoGP 2013 season, the Repsol RC213V Hondas of points leader Daniel Pedrosa and his rookie team mate, Marc Marquez, six points back in second place, appear to be the bikes to beat. With Pedrosa winning the Grand Prix of France at LeMans and the Grand Prix of Spain at Jerez, he becomes the first rider this season to win two races. Pedrosa has now scored 24premier class victories, equaling those of elite riders Wayne Rainey and Jorge Lorenzo.
Marquez, the youngest rider ever to win a premier class MotoGP race, put his bike on the pole for the second round of the 2013 season at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas. More remarkable still is that it had been 31 years since 500cc World Champ Freddie Spencer had accomplished this feat. Marquez shadowed his teammate Pedrosa for the first 12 laps, before passing him and winning by 1.5 seconds. Lorenzo, who finished third, said of Marquez after the race, “he’s a phenomenon”.
In the Team Championships, Honda’s early dominance has put them 47 points ahead of Yamaha Factory Racing, though it was the Yamaha YZR-M1s of Lorenzo and nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi who struck first with a 1-2 finish in the opening round in Qatar.
With Italy’s Andrea Dovizioso and 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden aboard the Ducati Team Desmosedici GP13s, the Italian factory team is hoping for a long overdue win dating back to October 2010 in Australia. With German automaker Audi acquiring Ducati midway through last season, what impact they will have in the series remains to be seen.
British riders Bradley Smith and Cal Crutchlow, ride for Frenchman Hervé Poncharal’s Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team, with Stefan Bradl returning to Lucio Cecchinello’s LCR Honda MotoGP, who now has Honda factory support. American Ben Spies is piloting the Italian Pramac team’s factory Desmosedicis, along with series newcomer Andrea Iannone, who advances from Moto2.
The Spanish Avintia Blusens team announced Hiroshi Aoyoma’s return to MotoGP after a year in World Superbikes, with the addition of Hector Barbera, both on CRTs. Power Electronics Aspar’s pair of Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet have become the Aprilla CRT standard bearers for 2013. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards and Claudio Corti are hoping to improve this season by switching to new FTR Kawasakis. Paul Bird Motorsport will have Aprillia-power in a their own chassis for Yonny Hernandez and Michael Laverty, the latter moving up from British Superbikes.
Fast, colorful and exciting, the Red Bull MotoGP is the world’s foremost two-wheeled series. Three full factory teams for Honda, Yamaha and Ducati, and a host of other aspirants all hope to claim the 2013 MotoGP World Championship.