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MotoGP maestro Marquez seeks to banish Brno blip in Britain

updated 10:44 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
So what was MotoGP man of the moment Marc Marquez doing on London's Millennium Bridge? So what was MotoGP man of the moment Marc Marquez doing on London's Millennium Bridge?
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Millennium man
Crossing the Millennium Bridge
Out on his own
Spreading the MotoGP gospel
Winning streak ends
Crutchlow pain
The man who beat Marquez
New deal
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Marc Marquez is seeking to bounce back at this weekend's British Grand Prix
  • The MotoGP leader finished fourth in Brno, ending his unbeaten run in 2014
  • Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa is only other rider to win a race this season
  • Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo seeking his third successive Silverstone success

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(CNN) -- It was bound to happen eventually. But Marc Marquez has looked so utterly indomitable since the start of the MotoGP season in March, that it still felt strange when it did.

The immaculate Spaniard finally succumbed to racing mortality in the Czech Republic, failing to win for the first time in 2014. The fact that he didn't even make the podium in Brno just over two weeks ago made it seem even stranger.

This Sunday, at one of motorsport's fastest and most famous tracks -- the UK's Silverstone -- Marquez will be seeking to bounce back. What's more, the youngest world champion in motorcycling's elite class is feeling relaxed now that his record-equaling 10-race winning run has ended.

"I feel a little bit less pressure," he told CNN this week, "because nobody will ask me again if I can win all the races."

The brutally quick Silverstone circuit is also one that the ever-smiling 21-year-old enjoys, in spite of the dependably capricious British weather.

Marc Marquez targets more MotoGP titles
MotoGP riders speed round Silverstone
Introducing "The Doctor" of MotoGP -- Valentino Rossi briefly leads Marc Marquez at the French MotoGP on 18 May 2014. Introducing "The Doctor" of MotoGP -- Valentino Rossi briefly leads Marc Marquez at the French MotoGP on 18 May 2014.
300-up for MotoGP legend Rossi
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300-up for MotoGP legend Rossi 300-up for MotoGP legend Rossi

"I always feel good there, and we try to be ready for rain conditions and for dry conditions because the forecast is really unstable, but this year looks okay -- we will try to enjoy it, and try to do our best," said the Honda rider, who last year finished second at Silverstone in his debut season in MotoGP.

Marquez's teammate and compatriot Dani Pedrosa finally managed to put one over on his young rival in Brno, and goes into the race contented following his first victory since Malaysia last October.

He is second overall in the standings, 77 points behind Marquez with seven races to go.

"We had a great weekend in Brno and a good test on the Monday," said the 28-year-old, who was third here in 2013.

"We had quite a good race here last year, I had to recover some gap to the front but it was good. I'm happy to be here and the weather is looking good, so hopefully we can have a strong weekend."

Former champion Jorge Lorenzo, seeking to improve on two consecutive runner-up finishes, is sensing that the season might be finally coming together for him and his factory Yamaha.

"After three consecutive podiums I feel good," said the Spaniard, who has won at Silverstone three of the past last four years.

"Last weekend in Brno we found some good solutions that surely will give us at least a tenth (of a second) in the next races."

Read: The 150 mph piggyback ride

Almost 160,000 spectators swarmed to last year's British MotoGP, and those gathering this year will dine on an unexpected feast of homegrown riders in the premier class.

Among them is Scott Redding, a rookie MotoGP rider who knows all about beating Marquez -- because he's done it, albeit in the sport's lower classes.

It's been a perfect start to 2014 for Marc Marquez. After winning the world championship in his rookie season last year, he has started the new campaign with back-to-back wins in Qatar and Austin, Texas. Can he make in three in a row when MotoGP returns to Argentina for the first time in 15 years this weekend? It's been a perfect start to 2014 for Marc Marquez. After winning the world championship in his rookie season last year, he has started the new campaign with back-to-back wins in Qatar and Austin, Texas. Can he make in three in a row when MotoGP returns to Argentina for the first time in 15 years this weekend?
On the Marc
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MotoGP returns to Argentina MotoGP returns to Argentina
The new MotoGP season gets underway at the Losail Circuit for the Grand Prix of Qatar on March 23. The event is one of the most stunning on the MotoGP calendar, with the race taking place at night time under floodlights. Lying on the outskirts of Doha, the track was completed in 2004 and cost $58 million. The new MotoGP season gets underway at the Losail Circuit for the Grand Prix of Qatar on March 23. The event is one of the most stunning on the MotoGP calendar, with the race taking place at night time under floodlights. Lying on the outskirts of Doha, the track was completed in 2004 and cost $58 million.
Curtain opener
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MotoGP season preview MotoGP season preview

Redding won the Moto2 race here last year, and also triumphed in the 125 cc class back in 2008 as a 15-year-old. He's been on podium four out of six times at his home event.

"I like the character of Silverstone, a fast-flowing track, big open areas, with speed, and that's what gives you adrenaline," the 21-year-old said.

Redding also enjoys the atmosphere of his home crowd: "I don't look at it as pressure. I look at it as support. I feel like every one of the fans that are cheering -- even if they're cheering for Marc Marquez -- it feels like they're cheering for me."

Riding an Open-class Gresini Honda means, however, that he will not be troubling the podium this year -- his bike is way off the pace. "It is a bit annoying and it does disappoint me a bit," he explained.

Rumors that Redding will be riding a factory spec bike next year are welcomed by Marquez.

"I hope Scott is on a factory Honda next year as I think he's got good potential," the world champion told Bike Social. "I enjoyed riding with him in Moto2, he's a really good rider, really aggressive and keeps pushing all the time."

Bradley Smith, riding for the satellite Yamaha Tech team, is currently the Briton most likely to break into the top five. With the ink barely dry on a new contract for next season, the thoughtful 23-year-old is in good spirits.

"I know the team well; I'll be going into my fifth season, I know the bike now, so it's good," he told CNN. "I don't really want to have to learn a new motorcycle and how to ride it."

Smith admits the Marquez domination was embarrassing for his fellow riders, and expects the Repsol Honda man to bounce straight back after his Brno blip.

"It was hard work ... it makes us look rubbish at the end of the day. It's monotonous, it's the same old Marc, Marc, Marc, Marc, which I understand," Smith said.

"I expect him to come out fighting at Silverstone, but now that's given confidence to Dani, Jorge and Valentino (Rossi), that they have got a chance, and there is a slight weakness, and they've just got to keep opening that up."

Last year all British eyes were on the charismatic, straight-talking Cal Crutchlow, who had amazed spectators in 2012 by registering a sixth place from the back of the grid while riding with a freshly broken ankle. Last year's race was disappointing, however, and this year he is enduring an ordeal of a season with Ducati.

"I normally leave here on Sunday night completely smashed on drugs that they've given me from the medical center," Crutchlow joked at a recent media event held by British broadcaster BT Sport.

He puts his British MotoGP crashes down to simply trying too hard: "Problem was I wanted to win too early, I never saved it for the race; I wanted to win the practices."

Crutchlow believes that Marquez's dominance has benefited the sport: "It's not boring, because people were tuning in to see if he'd win again. He dominated most of the races; he was really playing with people."

He also reckons the Spaniard was unlucky in Brno. "We know he had a tire problem, as did a lot of the riders over the weekend, and I think he would have put up a lot more of a fight than he did."

The three top Brits all see positive signs for the future of the sport in the UK. The British MotoGP is moving to a £280 million ($460 million) new purpose-built complex in Wales in 2016.

"It's a fantastic facility, and looks great for motorcycle racing in general," Smith said.

Redding, however, warns that Britain -- and the world -- has a long way to go to match Spain.

"You go to Spain and it's a completely different ball game. I spent the last two years training in Spain, and that's what's changed me as a rider," he told CNN.

"You see riders at the age of six come in on their lunch break from school, go an hour riding and then go back to school ... the passion you get there is unbelievable and it makes a massive difference."

Read: Marquez misses out on record 11 wins

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