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October 15, 2013  |   By MotoGP.com

Marquez In Contention For Title As Phillip Island Beckons

Despite missing out on the win last time out in Malaysia, Repsol Honda Team rookie Marc Marquez has a mathematical chance of winning the World Championship at this weekend’s Tissot Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island if he beats Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo by sufficient points to go into the last two races with a 50-point margin.

Marquez now holds a 43-point lead heading into the race, meaning that a win could get him the title should Lorenzo not finish second – which would be the first time a rookie has taken the championship in 35 years since Kenny Roberts in 1978. However this might be tricky with the form Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa is in, following his dominant win in Sepang last time out. Pedrosa is not out of the title chase yet, but knows that only wins will suffice to keep his chances alive.

Yamaha duo Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi will hope that the notoriously colder conditions at the track will suit their M1s better, with both not quite competitive enough in Sepang. Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Cal Crutchlow will aim to take the fight to the front-runners once more, as a set-up error in Sepang left him with too much power in the early stages, spinning the rear tyre up too much in the bends and loosing traction.

GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, who beat Crutchlow last time out, will aim for a repeat or better, whilst many will be awaiting whether LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl will be declared fit after fracturing his right ankle on the Saturday in Sepang. Tech3’s Bradley Smith had one of his best races to date in Malaysia, and will be aiming to take that rhythm to Australia, whilst the Ducati Team of Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden will look to close the gap to the Japanese manufacturers.

Yonny Hernandez will continue to substitute for Ben Spies on the Ignite Pramac Ducati, with Damian Cudlin also maintaining the spot in the PBM team. Luca Scassa remains the replacement for the inured Karel Abraham. All three will be once again looking to get past Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro, who remains the dominant force in the CRT category.

World Championship Standings MotoGP

1  -  Marc Marquez    SPA    Honda    298
2  -  Jorge Lorenzo    SPA    Yamaha    255
3  -  Dani Pedrosa    SPA    Honda    244
4  -  Valentino Rossi    ITA    Yamaha    198
5  -  Cal Crutchlow    GBR    Yamaha    166