Marc Marquez's withdraw from Sunday's Andalucia MotoGP race means that the reigning world champion will start his latest title defence with at least two non-scores.

That setback, combined with the short 13-round season currently forecast and uncertain recovery time needed for his fractured right arm, means some are speculating that he may already be out of the 2020 championship fight.

Valentino Rossi, whose seven premier-class titles Marquez can equal this season, disagrees.

"First of all, it depends on how many points Quartararo [1st] and Vinales [2nd] will take tomorrow. And also Dovi [3rd]," said Rossi.

"The championship is short and [Marquez] will start with a disadvantage, but in the first race he demonstrated that he has great pace and can win, because he was the fastest.

"So I think that for him it's not over."

As things currently stand Rossi also has zero points, after a technical failure on his Yamaha last Sunday.

"It's a shame because when you have a zero at the beginning of the championship it's difficult. But especially apart from the technical problem in the first race, the problem is that in the first race I suffer too much and I was too slow," said Rossi, who will start from an improved fourth place tomorrow.

"The championship is shorter than normal, but still very long. So our target, more than to think about the championship, is try to be strong, try to be competitive."

Then team-mates Jorge Lorenzo and Rossi are the only riders to have so far finished above Marquez in the end-of-season MotoGP standings, finishing first and second respectively in 2015.

Marquez is now aiming to return at round three, in Brno, on August 7-9.

 

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