Three-time premier class champion Lorenzo moves across to join Marquez at Honda this season after two disappointing seasons at Ducati, and got his tenure with the Japanese marque off to a solid start in post-season testing last year.
According to Rainey though, the fact Lorenzo is having to adapt to a different bike and is entering a team that has been moulded around his new teammate gives him a valid excuse to not beat Marquez from the very off.
“Marquez has his strong points but he also has his weak points, and these are what he needs to improve on,” Rainey told Motorsport.com. “[Lorenzo] is going to have a big motivation to push Marquez.
“But Lorenzo is predictable. He rides his bike a certain way, the risks he take are such that he will always come to the chequered flag. If he can put pressure on Marquez, make Marquez make mistakes, this is good for Lorenzo.
“The pressure is on Marquez more than Lorenzo, because Lorenzo is coming from Ducati. Honda is Marquez’s team. The bike’s been developed for Marquez.
“Lorenzo, if he comes third or fourth, he can say ‘I’m still adjusting to the bike’. Saying that, I’m sure Lorenzo will want to come out and win the first race to show he is serious.”
Rainey also highlighted the fact that Marquez suffered more crashes than any other rider in MotoGP last year (23), saying the reigning champion ought to give himself more of a margin to reduce the risk of being injured.
“If Marquez falls down over 20 times again next year, maybe Marquez beats himself,” said Rainey. “The odds are against you when you make mistakes like this.
“When you are off your bike, sliding across the grass at 200km/h, maybe you’re ok for the first two metres, but then if you start flipping across the track, anything can happen.
“I’m hoping Marquez can find a way to be more consistent. He needs to stay on his bike more. It’s not very healthy to make mistakes like that. It will catch up [to him].”
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team crash
Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images