MotoGP World Championship leader Marc Marquez admitted he was thinking about the World Championship while watching Maverick Vinales win Sunday’s Dutch TT at Assen.
The Spaniard battled with both Vinales and Fabio Quartararo for large portions of the race, before deciding to settle for second place and twenty valuable World Championship points, rather than risking it all by battling Vinales.
“The best race for the championship,” said the World Champion. “It was a difficult weekend for us, and even with a difficult weekend where we suffer we finish second and we fight until the end.
“Honestly speaking the entire Repsol Honda team is working in a good way this weekend and we just concentrate. You can say it’s a gamble to choose the soft rear, but for me it was the option to be on the podium.
“I don’t care today about the victory; I just tried to concentrate to fight for the podium. I was waiting behind Quartararo and I was waiting for Vinales because I knew that he had better pace. When he overtook us, I just used his slipstream to get away from Quartararo and the others.
“Then when I saw that Quartararo was already four seconds, my tyres were finished, especially the rear one and then I said okay, this is the position we want. Twenty points for the championship, we increased the advantage and this is the best way to work for our target.”
Marquez was asked for comment on the change of philosophy, which has seen him become a lot more mature and thinking of the World Championship rather than always trying to win the race.
“This is the main target. We have been working very hard with Honda to try and maintain that consistency during all the racetracks,” he said.
“For me it doesn’t mean that in the previous we didn’t have this feeling, but not just to be very, very strong in one track and weak points in other tracks. So now we find a good balance and maybe we are struggling more in our strong points but struggling less in our weak points.
“Today, I go out already and I knew we were not ready to fight for the victory, but then you need to change your strategy. Forget about the victory and find the best way, and for me today, it was to choose the soft rear.
“I knew that for at least fifteen laps I could be there, and then see what happens, but I knew that with the hard I was struggling during all the race. It’s also the strategy of all the team, but we are working on this point.
“When I saw that maverick was extremely fast I was there following him just two laps and then there was a lot of risk and I said yesterday Quartararo was 89 points behind us and Maverick one hundred.”
Whilst settling for second place, there was a scary moment for the Spaniard at the midway point of when he almost rear-ended Quartararo. When asked about the near-miss, Marquez said: “It was a scary moment, because I was behind Quartararo and Vinales. Quartararo started shaking the bike and closed the gas, then Vinales overtake on the side and I said okay I will follow Maverick.
“Then suddenly Quartararo prepared the corner that is the normal way there, I just tired to keep the line. I knew that if I keep on straight it was the easiest movement, but I know I lose one second and then I lose second place. I just keep the line.
“It was scary but sometimes you need to take the risk in a few moments to find the target.”