Rossi: Marquez lead due to damage limitation
Valentino Rossi believes the reason Marc Marquez is leading the 2017 MotoGP standings at the halfway point is because he has been the best at damage limitation.
With nine grands prix run, Marquez holds a slender five-point advantage of the top of the table following his second win of the season at the Sachsenring earlier this month.
Maverick Vinales, Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi are all within 10 points of the reigning champion heading into the summer break, while Marquez's Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa is only 26 behind.
While Marquez crashed out at Termas de Rio Hondo and Le Mans, he has been on the podium five times and has not finished lower than sixth all season - while Yamaha pair Vinales and Rossi have had four podiums apiece and have both finished as low as 10th.
Rossi feels it is Marquez's ability to grind out a result even when things are not going his way that has put him in command of the championship.
"Marquez is leading because in the times he was most in trouble, he lost fewer points than we did in our most difficult moments," said Rossi.
"So he has been very strong, he won when he needed to, but when he struggled he limited the damage very well. That's why he's in the lead.
"I think all of us that are fighting for the world championship at this time are on the same level.
"There is no favourite. I would not discount Pedrosa, either, he isn't far behind."
Rossi took his first win in more than a year at Assen last month, boosted by the arrival of a new Yamaha frame following a particularly tough outing at Barcelona.
But he says this is no guarantee he will take another victory for the remainder of the year, especially given now there are so many potential winners in the field.
"Nobody can predict what will happen in the next races of the championship," said Rossi.
"I don't think we can say there's a race I can definitely win.
"I would like to be quick at Misano, and I will try to be quick in the Asian triple-header, also there we can be very strong.
"But for now, the important thing is to arrive in Brno and be competitive."
LEADING CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: