Reigning MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo would still top the standings if Marc Marquez raced according to Yamaha team principal Lin Jarvis.
The Frenchman has taken the world of motorsport by storm since his move to the premier class in 2019, winning his first world title last year.
Despite a slow start for Valentino Rossi’s former side in 2022, Quartararo are back at the top of the standings with a healthy lead ahead of the historic Assen Grand Prix.
The 23-year-old has already picked up three wins this season which some say was helped by the absence of eight-time champion Marquez.
Considered by many to be one of the most talented riders to ever master two wheels, Marquez caused a stir before injury started to take its toll in 2020.
The Spaniard has been in and out of sport with arm operations for the past three seasons, reminiscent of the current campaign time in May.
But as Jarvis told talkSPORT, he believes Quartararo would still have the beat of a fit and healthy all-time great in Marquez.
He said: “I think a lot of riders feel very human and Fabio is like that, so he would prefer Marc to be there, but I think he would win whether Marc was there or not.
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“Every driver has their time when they are absolutely at the top and unbeatable and Valentino had that time, [Jorge] Lorenzo had this time, [Casey] Stoner had that time, Marc, incredible, eight world championships, he had that time.
“Now I think it’s time for some of the other young guns to make their mark and Fabio at the moment is the best gun at the moment so let’s hope Marc comes back.
“I think the riders feel a lot on a personal level for him because for any rider to be out, to be injured, to have so many problems in the last two years and four times to reset the arm is not something you would wish on anyone, your worst enemy.
Yamaha started the campaign late and looked far from the title favourite, with Quartararo finishing outside the top six in three of the first four races.
Since then, however, the Frenchman has found his groove and hasn’t looked back, much to Jarvis’ delight.
Commenting on the year he said: “A good surprise for us because when we started the season we didn’t expect to be as competitive as we have been.
“We don’t have enough power basically, that’s the biggest problem we have, but you have to be fast and you have to have the best driver and honestly Fabio is doing a fantastic job, him and his team.
Asked about his driver’s progress, Jarvis continued: “Surprised is probably not the right word because I think we saw it last season with the way he won the championship but I would say impressed.
“It’s not easy to do again, it’s not automatic and of course he had the disappointment of not being competitive at the start of the year but he was able to do exceptionally well and make very, very few mistakes and and our competitors have made some mistakes.
“You put pressure on the riders if you set the benchmark very high, the others have to follow and some races, I’ve seen situations where in trying to stay with him some people lost him.
“Sometimes you also need a bit of luck on your side, Aleix Espargaro is the other driver who impressed me a lot this year, he and the Aprilia did very well, and I didn’t expect that they are so strong and enduring.” such a great challenge so it’s not over, it’s far from over.
Espargaro made a crucial mistake, however, by celebrating an early lap at Barcelona, dropping four places, with Jarvis looking as shocked as anyone in the paddock.
“Honestly, I thought he broke the engine,” he explained. “Because at the end of the race, you don’t expect anyone to miscount the number of laps.
“When he slowed down I thought ‘oh the engine is burnt out’ and then he went back on the throttle so I thought ‘what the hell was that’, this could be a big mistake and costly.
“You never know what the final decisions of the championship will be, how many points and he threw nine in there.”
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