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Three-time 500cc champion Wayne Rainey believes Marc Marquez will be under more pressure in the Honda MotoGP camp next year than newcomer Jorge Lorenzo.
Three-time premier class champion Lorenzo has joined Marquez at Honda after two mixed campaigns at Ducati, and started his tenure with the Japanese marque in post-season testing at Valencia and Jerez last year.
Rainey believes the fact Lorenzo will have to adapt to a different bike and is entering a team that has been moulded around his new team-mate gives him a valid excuse to not beat Marquez from the off.
“Marquez has his strong points but he also has his weak points, and these are what he needs to improve on,” Rainey told Autosport.
“[Lorenzo] is going to have a big motivation to push Marquez.
“But Lorenzo is predictable. He rides his bike a certain way, the risks he take are such that he will always come to the chequered flag.
“If he can put pressure on Marquez, make Marquez make mistakes, this is good for Lorenzo.
“The pressure is on Marquez more than Lorenzo, because Lorenzo is coming from Ducati. Honda is Marquez’s team. The bike’s been developed for Marquez.
“Lorenzo, if he comes third or fourth, he can say, ‘I’m still adjusting to the bike’.
“Saying that, I’m sure Lorenzo will want to come out and win the first race to show he is serious.”
Rainey also pointed out that Marquez suffered more crashes than any other rider in MotoGP last year – 23 – and said the reigning champion should give himself a greater margin for error to reduce the risk of being injured.
“If Marquez falls down over 20 times again next year, maybe Marquez beats himself,” said Rainey.
“The odds are against you when you make mistakes like this.
“When you are off your bike, sliding across the grass at 200km/h, maybe you’re OK for the first two metres, but then if you start flipping across the track, anything can happen.
“I’m hoping Marquez can find a way to be more consistent. He needs to stay on his bike more.
“It’s not very healthy to make mistakes like that. It will catch up [to him].”