Marquez hype justified to an extent

It's not often that the words 'Marc Marquez' and 'slow down' are used in close proximity to one another, but perhaps this week one would do well to place them in the same sentence.

Not that the rider himself should be hitting the brakes, of course, but rather the reaction to his testing performance has seen people get ever-so-slightly ahead of themselves.

It was to be expected, bearing in mind the dominance that the Spaniard has displayed in the Moto2 class over the past two years.

Marquez may have had an advantage in terms of being able to test this season's engine before anyone else, but he also had one addition to his bike, right above the seat, that made him go faster than anyone else in the intermediate category: a big pair of brass balls.

It is the knowledge that this teenager is a speedy risk taker who won't back down from any other rider that has created so much interest around him, although maybe hyperbole has taken over in this case.

He's the reigning Moto2 world champion and had won from 33rd on the grid the previous day. He would be riding for Repsol Honda, who aren't in the habit of signing dud riders.

He's been touted as THE next big thing in MotoGP. That's why there was so much expectation around him at last week's Valencia test. Did he live up to the hype? Yes but, as always with Marquez, there's a number of caveats.

In the grand scheme of things, those 28 laps have very little significance. The track wasn't in great condition, nobody was expecting him to beat his team-mate straight out of the box and his best time —a 1'33.403- isn't instantly comparable with anything from the race weekend or the other riders on track testing new parts.

If he had beaten Pedrosa's marker, instead of trailing it by 1.8 seconds, then there would probably have been calls to award him the title there and then.

MotoGP logic isn't always a simple equation. Room for improvement is variable. Gaps in November don't remain the same and progress isn't even. But an initial test can at least show that the potential is there, and Marquez has it in spades.

It reminded me of Jorge Lorenzo's debut full test on a MotoGP bike (a run out in Almeria to set up the seating position notwithstanding), in 2007: a rider who had outgrown the intermediate class and won there in style, coming into a team with an established set-up and dressed like a Star Wars stormtrooper.

After a respectable familiarisation run, future world champion Lorenzo was of course immediately asked how long it would be before he would be up at the sharp end. His response was a sigh and a reminder that he was still learning. Beforehand, however, his own first question for the team was whether he would be able to wheelie like Casey Stoner at that year's US GP, when introduced to his electronics technician.

Marquez also had his doubts about traction control and the like, five years on. I would imagine that his mechanics had ramped up the electronics to prevent any shock at the power possessed by a 1000cc bike —which the rider himself acknowledged was lifting up considerably on the straights. He still hasn't pushed the limits of the Honda RC213V by any stretch, but he will — and he will find them, which is the painful part.

Like Lorenzo's first season, I expect there to be plenty of feathers ruffled, a fair few crashes and a period of reflection quite early on in the season. I also expect that we shall see some seriously quick times in qualifying.

Adapting to a bike is one thing —and shouldn't be played down. Learning to race it is another.

When Márquez does that, and it may be very soon indeed, then he'll deserve every plaudit going.