Marc Márquez has won 5 of the first 11 races of the 2018 MotoGP season, and leads the championship by 59 points. Honda lead the constructors' championship by 28 points from Ducati. And the Repsol Honda team leads the team standings by 8 points over the factory Ducati Team. So the 2018 Honda RC213V must be quite the weapon, right?
That is the case often argued by some fans. If Márquez has such a huge lead, then a large part of it must be down to the bike. There is only so far that talent can go.
Is it the bike, or is it Marc Márquez? This is a complicated question, a little tricky to untangle, but we at least have an approach which might give us a better idea of just how much of a factor the bike is, and how much of Márquez' success is down to his own doing.
The approach taken is simple: remove Marc Márquez from the results of the 11 races held so far, and see how that affects the standings, with everyone finishing behind Márquez moving up a place as if he had never been competing. If there is still a Honda at or near the top of the championship, then clearly, the bike must take a large part of the credit. If the Honda is further down the order, then it is Márquez who is outperforming the machine.
No Honda no cry
Taking just Marc Márquez out of the equation, the conclusion is fairly devastating. If Márquez had not been racing this year, then Valentino Rossi would be leading the 2018 MotoGP championship by a healthy 31 points. Behind Rossi, three riders are separated by just 8 points. Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo make it a Ducati 1-2, and Maverick Viñales sits in fourth spot on the second Movistar Yamaha.
Danilo Petrucci occupies fifth spot, the Alma Pramac rider making it three Ducatis in the top five, while Cal Crutchlow is the first Honda rider in sixth place, tied for points with Johann Zarco on the Monster Tech3 Yamaha. So far, the picture is not very good for the Honda.
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