MotoGP World Championship leader Marc Marquez said that a huge moment on the final lap left him with two options, keep going and try to win the race or crash, as he eventually came out second best in a race long duel with Alex Rins at MotoGP Silverstone.
The Spaniard started from pole position and led from the off. Putting distance into all challengers, bar Rins, Marquez withstood immense pressure from his compatriot, holding him off, until the final corner of the race when the Suzuki man managed to pip the Repsol Honda to the post.
Marquez said that he was trying his upmost to defend, but a huge slide in braking left him forced to close the throttle at just the wrong moment, allowing Rins to drive past him to victory.
“Today was a great result for the championship, twenty more points,” said the Repsol Honda man.
“We did all the race in front and in the middle of the race, I tried to play a little bit, to save some tyre, to just let him past, then follow Rins. Then he just was closing even more, and I said, okay I keep pushing because I knew that Vinales was coming very, very fast.
“Already two laps to the end, he showed me where he will attack, in the last corner, but it’s okay, I don’t have more grip, so I will try and yeah, I tried to defend very, very good in the brake points, that was my strong point.
“But then on the last corner I tried to be even more inside, I was very, very fast, but suddenly one point, both wheels just start to slide and then you have two options, keep going and try to win the race, or crash. And then I said okay, we will be a little bit safer, I just closed a little bit more gas.
“Rins did an amazing last lap and that was the main issue of the race, but for me it’s very important that last year in a circuit where we were struggling a lot, we were there, fighting for the victory.”
Through 2019 Marquez has often tried to go hard from the start and leave riders playing catch-up. When asked if that was his tactic going into Sunday’s twenty-lap MotoGP race, he said: “My strategy for the race was very ‘easy’, but very precise. My strategy was maybe not the best strategy to win the race, just make the best strategy to make the front group smaller. Then you can lose less points.
“I know that leading the race you use more tyres, you use more the physical condition, you use more fuel, but anyway it is the target to take a lot of points for the championship and this was my main target.
“I say, I will lead the race, I will push, push, push to try to have a small group in the front group, and it is what I did.
“In the end it was me and Rins, of course he was more fresh in the last laps, but the target was there, I already achieved. In the end I try, it was not possible, but the most important is 20 points more for the championship, we are here with 58 and now leaving with 78.
“It a shame, because Dovi was out again for not his mistake. I like to have all the opponents on the track, and shame for Dovi, but I hope the best to him, as I heard it was an ugly crash.”
Today was the first time that Marquez and Rins have battled for a race victory over multiple laps. Rins’ only other MotoGP win came when Marquez had crashed out, whilst in Assen, Rins crashed out in the middle of the race whilst leading.
Marquez admitted that there was an element of unknown about fighting with Rins, even if the Suzuki man did show his had a little early.
“It was difficult to defend, because I didn’t know where was his weak points” he said.
“But when I tried to do that strategy in the middle of the race, to follow him some laps to save some tyre and save some fuel, to know where he was struggling, he just closed even more, so we lose nearly one second in one lap and is saw that Maverick was coming, so I say okay, I don’t care about the victory, I only care about the points.
“I know that if I stayed there, I can take only 16 points on the race, I know that if I push I can take 25 or 20, then I keep pushing, pushing, pushing and yeah, when you are in the race all front.
“In 2017 and ’16, stay behind and just attack last five laps, and you arrive with a better tyre, but now I’m in a different situation in the championship and to win the final battle, you need to lose some battles. Today was very, very close, but it was like this.”
This marks the second round in a row where Marquez has been leading going into the final corner, only to come out second best. When asked which one hurt more, he said: “I have the mentality of a winner and if I lose I am angry, so of course I am angry to lose in the last corner, but it’s like this.
“Maybe two weeks ago because he gained points in the Championship. Today of course it hurts because it’s the same way, more or less, but I increased 20 points in the championship, so two weeks ago was worse.”