Honda star Marquez is going through a minimum of one other month on the sidelines as he recovers from a damaged arm sustained through the Spanish Grand Prix, after an preliminary comeback try on the Andalusian GP left him needing a second operation.
His absence has paved the way in which for some new winners within the class, Fabio Quartararo, Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira all racking up maiden victories.
However the unpredictable begin to the pandemic-affected season hasn’t impressed retired two-time champion Stoner, who thinks the sequence is lacking its “next level” with out Marquez on the grid.
When requested by on the most recent episode of the In the Fast Lane podcast if he feels Marquez’s absence has lessened the worth of the championship, Stoner stated: “This is where I can start some controversy, but I completely agree.
“Without Marc there, fairly truthfully, there is not any chief in the intervening time. And you see that by the outcomes, by the individuals which might be standing on the highest step of the rostrum.
“Marc was a clear leader and took that championship to another level. When I was there it was myself, Valentino [Rossi], Jorge [Lorenzo] and Dani [Pedrosa] that were sort of always at the front stretching the field out. At the moment they don’t have that rider to do it, and show what you should be doing each weekend, a level of consistency throughout a season.
“Because this season is condensed, two races at every circuit, [the riders] kind of really feel like in the event that they acquired a half first rate end result one week, they’re going to be okay for the subsequent week. It’s a really, very totally different championship and I feel it is upsetting the combo.”
Stoner added that Repsol Honda’s decline since Marquez’s crash, which has seen the squad droop to final within the groups’ standings with rookie Alex Marquez and take a look at rider Stefan Bradl, exhibits the impression that the six-time top-tier world champion has.
“I truthfully suppose you would just about win with any bike on the grid there in the intervening time,” he said. “They’re all very related, they simply have some totally different traits to them and the place they discover their pace.
“The big difference, again, is there’s no leader for people. If you’re not a leader then you’re a follower. And if you’re a follower, you’ve got to see someone doing something on the bike to believe yourself that it can get there.
“It’s not a simple factor. I went by way of it myself at Ducati. When I wasn’t there the Ducati actually struggled. I’m not essentially calling myself a pacesetter, however I by no means regarded subsequent door and thought the grass was greener. I assumed that is the bike I’ve set to work with, so there is a approach of discovering pace out of it.
“And that’s exactly what Marc does. He doesn’t worry about the rest of it. He just worries about his own thing, finding speed out of it, and with that people see what the bike can do and go ‘well if he can do that, I can at least get closer towards the front’.
“Without Marc there, [Repsol Honda] do actually appear to have misplaced their approach a bit in displaying what the bike can do.”
Stoner also questioned whether a full-blown world champion should be crowned this year, given all of the races on the post-pandemic calendar will take place in Europe, and that there have been a number of double-headers.
“I feel it is improbable that racing is up and going once more. It’s nice for everybody within the groups having the ability to a minimum of justify their positions, and [for] sponsors [and] every little thing, maintaining the entire thing rolling is nearly as good as we are able to think about proper now,” he said.
“Unfortunately I’m most likely going to be somewhat bit, I suppose, opinionated with some issues.
“I think the first one is calling it a world championship is a little bit difficult this year, you know? You’re racing two races at the same circuit, and if the selection of circuits suits somebody it really is a big benefit to do that.
“Not actually touring around the globe, making a world championship, is one thing I’m not a large fan of. But the racing itself is improbable, somewhat than these riders sitting round all 12 months. I feel it is improbable.”