“Marc Marquez is a step above the others” reckons Repsol Honda boss Alberto Puig

Repsol Honda MotoGP boss Alberto Puig stirs the pot by declaring Marc Marquez is 'a step above' his rivals following last-to-sixth charge in COTA

Marc Marquez - Repsol Honda

Repsol Honda boss Alberto Puig has lauded Marc Marquez’s gritty fight back from the back of the field to sixth at the flag during the Grand Prix of The Americas, branding him ‘a step above’ his MotoGP rivals.

Marquez provided one of the race’s foremost headlines with a charge back up the order after a technical issue prevented him from getting off the line cleanly, leaving the Spaniard dead last at the first corner having started ninth.

Thereafter Marquez carved his way back up the order - making up ten positions in three laps at one stage - to peak in sixth place after prevailing in an entertaining scrap with Fabio Quartararo during the final laps, 

Finishing 6.6secs behind winner Enea Bastianini, Marquez’s performance comes after being forced to skip a round due to the development of his diplopia eye condition in the wake of a huge accident in Indonesia.

With this in mind, Puig proudly declares ‘a word to the wise’ that Marquez’s performance demonstrates he is ‘a step above the others’.

"He was able to show his level, which is the same as it usually is. He is a rider who is a step above the others.

"Our spirit is to try to win and this is our goal. In Austin everyone could see how Marc was riding, you can realise a rider’s potential when a rider is last with many seconds to recover, almost six after lap one, and finishing only six seconds from the winner. 

"'A buen entendedor pocas palabras bastan’ as we say in Spanish – a word to the wise is enough."

Is Marc Marquez really a step above his MotoGP rivals?

First and foremost, one has to describe Puig comments for what they are.

He is of course always going to employ some jingoism for his own rider - like Puig has done so many times in the past - while much like the Spanish rider himself, a bit of hyperbole can be a rather pointed attempt to get into the head of rivals and rile them up a bit.

To an extent, he isn’t wrong. Marquez came into the weekend under pressure following his torrid outing last time out in Indonesia that had some questioning whether his active riding style - and occasionally spectacular fling offs - are going to prematurely end his career one day.

If anything, dropping to last was a perfect chance for Marquez to prove he hasn’t lost his grit on the Honda RC213V… and once he has momentum it is hard to stop him.

Then again, the charge bore similarities to his infamous comeback at the 2020 Spanish MotoGP at Jerez… and we all know how that ended.

Indeed, Marquez with a touch of red mist is remarkable to watch, but there were moments where it could have ended just as it did in Spain two years ago, whether he shaking his teeth on the kerbs or missing braking points, most notably on lap four when he had to thread through a tiny gap between Brad Binder, Takaaki Nakagami and Maverick Vinales when he got it all wrong at Turn 1.

So he was hanging fast and loose, a strategy that has served him as well in the past as it has led to disaster.

Whether he would have won in COTA is open to conjecture. His margin at the end of the race was roughly how it started and Enea Bastianini appeared to have some more in the tank as well, while the American circuit is a very happy hunting ground for the Spaniard.

Without a doubt, Marquez still has ‘it’ but arguably Puig is merely overstating his comments more for effect than through blinkered worship.