MotoGP World Championship leader Marc Marquez explained that he ‘stayed behind’ Danilo Petrucci on the final lap as he was thinking about the World Championship on the final lap of the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.
The Repsol Honda man found himself battling with the factory Ducati duo of Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso. The three of them battled on the final laps for the victory, with Petrucci coming out on top, taking the lead on the first corner of the final laps.
With Dovizioso considered a much more serious title threat, Marquez explained that once the front three had gotten through the first corner, he was happy to sit behind Petrucci and continue to build his lead in the MotoGP World Championship.
“I’m happy because in our worst race we finished second,” said the 26-year-old.
“In the worst feeling during all the season we finished so it is a good race and a good 20 points.
“I tried in the beginning like always, I tried to do my pace, but I already had two moments and I said ‘okay, today is not that day. I will follow and will fight on the last lap’.
“I missed the apex on turn one but then on the last lap when I saw that it was Danilo first, me second and Dovi third, I said ‘okay, I will not try, I will just defend’. If I try and we both go wide, Dovi wins the race and this is worst for the championship. So for this reason I stayed behind Danilo.
“I tried in the last just to lift him, but I knew that was very difficult. But apart from that I am happy, happy with the 20 points.”
Marquez and his factory Honda RC213V more than stayed with the Ducati duo on the long Mugello straight, showing the power and speed that the 2019 Honda has. Marquez explained that the two-bike slipstream he got from both Ducati’s going into the first corner on the final lap meant he ran wide, preventing him from holding a tight line into the first corner.
“For me it was great to overtake both Ducatis on the straight,” he said.
“On the other laps I studied to see if it was better on the right side or left side. Then I saw the right side was too dirty and the bike started shaking, so I go to the left side.
“But with two slip streams I arrived at the brake point with very high speed and I missed the apex and I already see I was going wide, wide, wide but I tried to be tight in and I see some red bike inside. I was going in and then I see that he [Dovizioso] pick up so I pick up but then when I see I was in second and first was Petrucci I said okay were in a good position.”
The heat in Mugello meant that Marquez ran both hard compound tyres on the front and rear of his Honda. After winning last time out in Le Mans on the soft compound by changing his riding style, he said that he didn’t have any choice this weekend, despite his best times coming on the medium tyres.
“If you check I did the fastest lap with the medium front. I feel much better with the medium front, but for the race distance it was impossible for me,” he explained.
“So for this reason I chose the hard, I knew that I would struggle more and it was slower, but it was the only option to finish the race and we chose the correct one.
“In Le Mans I was able to ride in a different way, but of course the way to be the fast or the best way is my natural riding style.
“Last year during the race here I crashed trying to change my riding style. Today I was able to ride in the opposite way of my riding style, but be there. This is the most important.
“Today we struggle and we couldn’t manage to work with the medium tyre all weekend. Sometimes this happens, we work hard and we change the settings of the bike, and I’m happy with the final result.”