Left, right: Can Marquez march to another win in Australia?

Island Preview Series

It was a bit of light-hearted fun at the end of the pre-event press conference at this year's Austrian Grand Prix, where several MotoGP™ riders were handed a sheet of paper and a marker to draw their ideal track.

Jorge Lorenzo's was simple, Valentino Rossi's more elaborate, Andrea Dovizioso's a mixture of both. Marc Marquez? The Spaniard drew an oval, added a directional arrow, and wrote five words: 'Left corners and very slippery'.

Those in attendance laughed, but as Marquez's records show, the joke is on everyone else. 

The 25-year-old has done plenty of winning in the premier class since joining MotoGP™ in 2013; his victory last time out in Thailand was his 42nd in the sport's top flight, and he stands on the cusp of winning a fifth world title in his first six seasons. 

They're astonishing stats in themselves but crunch the numbers a little further and you discover where he really makes his rivals pay.

Because for Marquez, with his flat-track dirt-bike racing background, it's right to go left. 

Phillip Island, home of the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2018, is one of just five of the 19 circuits featured on the 2018 calendar that goes 'left', in that it has more left-hand corners than right-handers. When a circuit runs anti-clockwise, time seems to be up on the chances of Marquez's rivals, none of whom have been able to hold a candle to him. 

Before the race in Aragon this year (a left-hand track, where Marquez won), cycleworld.com analysed his stats at all tracks, which makes for scary reading for his rivals at the 'left' ones.

Before Aragon, Marquez had won 39 per cent of his MotoGP™ starts, and 25 per cent of those on clockwise, right-handed circuits – a formidable set of numbers by themselves.

On left-hand tracks, that goes up to 71 per cent – and pole position 84 per cent of the time. 

"It's one of my favourite circuits, I’m always fast there and I'm enjoying a lot, it’s an incredible track."

How that does that shape his chances for Australia and Phillip Island, where seven of the 12 corners are left-handed?

He won both no-holds-barred Australian GP classics in 2015 and 2017, he's been on pole at the Island each of the past four years, set the fastest lap of the race twice, and has the circuit record lap of 1min 28.108secs in 2013. 

All of which is why, fifth world championship in his pocket before he gets to Australia or not, he has to be considered the favourite for a track he holds in special esteem.

"It's one of my favourite circuits, I’m always fast there and I'm enjoying a lot, it’s an incredible track," Marquez says.

"It’s difficult because it's very physical, with many hard and fast changes in direction, but I enjoy it a lot every year." 

When those changes of direction are more lefts than rights, it's easy to see why.

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