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Schwantz - Lorenzo can challenge Marquez

Former MotoGP champion Kevin Schwantz has backed an injury-free Jorge Lorenzo to be reigning champion Marc Marquez’ main rival in the 2014 season despite Honda’s current dominance. Lorenzo’s hopes of defending his 2012 crown were severely dented due to a broken collarbone suffered during the season, and the Spaniard is currently working his way back to full fitness in time to be in Doha for the opening race of the new season in March.

Having won the MotoGP title in 2012 many expected Lorenzo would romp away with it last year but it was rookie Marc Marquez who shocked many Betfair fans and stormed his way to the MotoGP title. During a sensational debut season, the Honda rider racked up six wins and another 10 podiums, narrowly pipping compatriot Lorenzo to the title despite the two-time world champion winning five of the final seven races of the season.

Although he claimed two more wins than Marquez, the Yamaha rider surrendered the title by four points due mainly to the broken collarbone he suffered in the middle of the season, as well as the sheer consistency Marquez managed to produce throughout his first year in MotoGP.

While Marquez has been backed by many to defend his title on the impressive Honda, 1993 MotoGP champion Schwantz has insisted he feels Lorenzo will bounce back from his injury problems and be a major contender in 2014 despite Yamaha’s limitations.

"Any mere mortal can tell that the Yamaha is not quite the package that the Honda is,” admitted Schwantz.

"He (Lorenzo) has done the best he can with what he has and there is nobody even close to getting the potential out of the Yamaha that Lorenzo can. He's won two World titles, so Jorge is strong enough mentally.”

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