MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez admitted that he could’ve crashed ‘three or four times’ during his win at the Malaysian MotoGP at the Sepang International Circuit.
The Spaniard benefitted from a late mistake from Valentino Rossi to claim the victory in Malaysia, but the Repsol Honda man admitted that he was on the limit the entire race.
“It was a very, very hard race,” said the 25-year-old.
“First of all because we started from seventh place, so that was extra motivation because I’ve never won starting from the third row. But it was really difficult as the first lap was good, but not the best one of my career.
“So I overtake some riders, but then I start to see Valentino was pushing really hard from the beginning. Then I pushed too, I was riding like a qualifying practice, but I overheated my tyres.
“When I just overtook Johann, I started to struggle a lot, looks like Valentino was very close, but I start to struggle. I start to feel uncomfortable; I lost the front in the last turn and had to save with the elbow. So I had to say, cool down, try to be smart, try to understand the situation with the tyres.
“Then step-by-step I start to feel better, I start to see I was catching tenth-by-tenth to Valentino and that was extra motivation. When you see you’re starting to catch the rider in front, I was coming better, better, better, I was riding just on instinct. I was pushing on the limit, and he was too.
“Then when I was only six tenth behind him, I was already there and he did a mistake because he was a little bit wide and maybe he didn’t want to lose a lot of time and he crashed. From that point I said okay, time to finish the race and enjoy these last three laps.”
As Marquez mentioned, he had reduced the gap from over 1.3 seconds, down to 0.6 seconds when Rossi crashed out. When asked if he had a plan had Rossi not crashed out, Marquez said: “The plan was to try, you know me.
“I was there to try at the end. I didn’t have anything more; both of us were riding on the limit, it was really fast pace. Then I saw that he start to struggle, so the plan was to try and arrive at the end and it was only four or five laps so thought it would be very close.
“But the front was just right there so try to fight, then see because our level was very, very equal. But we nearly crashed three or four times during all race. Then on that corner, he was a little bit wide, but when you are fighting like this you don’t want to lose any tenths, so when he tried to come back he lost the front.”
Yamaha haven’t enjoyed 2018 with only one win on the year, coming last time out in Australia. After spending years fighting against Yamaha, the Repsol Honda man has found himself going up against the Ducati a lot more in the last two years. When asked about the Yamaha, Marquez pointed to the acceleration of the M1 as a strong point.
“This weekend Yamaha was extremely fast,” he said.
“When I was riding behind Johann but also especially Valentino, they have amazing acceleration on the exit of the corner, amazing grip. I don’t know the performance of the tyre in the last laps because they were using a lot of their rear tyre. But even like this, I was trying to use but was not able.
“So they had really good acceleration, but from that point I start to understand that maybe we will struggle in the race. But where is the limit? We never know, we just push, push, push because you don’t know where is the limit of the other riders.
“I’m proud, because in a circuit where we struggle, again, we were there. Normally we fight against Ducati but this time Yamaha was the strongest one, and we were there.”