MotoGP Valencia: ‘If Fabio hits me, I will understand’ - Marquez| Christina Bulpett | MotoGP
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez sealed his third front row start in succession on Saturday as his progression to the rider of old draws closer.
Despite suffering from illness across the final weekend, and with his voice audibly absent as a result, a podium at Valencia was still in his sights after securing second, in the midst of two Ducatis, on Saturday afternoon.
“Since Monday I am sick and you don’t have the same energy but we are in the home GP and then I try my best,” Marquez confirmed. “Yesterday I take a lot of risk to be in the rhythm, to find the limits with the Honda. Today I didn’t expect to go in ‘29’s but with the second tyre the grip was much better than the first one and then I was able to be faster.
“Tomorrow I would like to finish in the podium. I was so happy because I know that if I want to finish in the podium, was crucial to start in the front or second row. So we achieved the target today and tomorrow, if I feel well, it’s time to take the risk and time to enjoy the last race!”
With Sunday all about the title decider between Fabio Quartararo - who lines up fourth - and Pecco Bagnaia behind in eighth, Marquez knows the start promises to be dramatic.
“I know that Fabio tomorrow will push, will push a lot and he must push and if he hit me, I will understand,” Marquez acknowledged. “I don’t want but I will understand,” he elaborated, “because he’s playing for a world championship not for a race so I know that he’s smart but he will attack.
“Everybody will attack, especially Ducati riders will attack more because it’s the best way to help Pecco but I want to do a good race too. In the end is another race but tomorrow the two guys are Pecco and Fabio. Everybody will pay attention about these two guys.”
With the Spaniard’s recovery going from strength to strength since his fourth bout of surgery earlier in the season, Marquez is clearly pleased with his progress in final part of the season.
“Yeah, of course, about my physical condition, I’m very, very happy,” he admitted. “Because the target when I come back was try to improve my right arm during all the races and I feel a lot when I stay at home one week. This weekend I’m riding in a normal way.
“Is true that sometimes I use still a different riding style, not exactly as before, but the lap time is coming so I’m riding well. It’s true also that with Honda we are working very hard to improve that front feeling because I’m riding fast but I don’t feel under control every lap.
“Tomorrow is time to attack, when you attack, when you take the risk, sometimes the consequences are not the one that you like it but I feel free, I feel nothing to lose so I will try to manage well to be on the podium.
“Has been a very difficult season for me, strange especially,” he continued. “But we chose the correct decision. Because in the first part of the season, I was struggling a lot and now the last three races, I start always in the front row so the speed is there. But the speed, you can use one lap, you can take the risk one lap. For the race distance, we need to keep working for the future because still I’m fighting against the bike.
“To do the lap time I’m struggling a bit but the most important for me is that the speed is there and this is what I like. Then tomorrow, to finish in a good way 2022, is the best way to start 2023. So tomorrow is important but the most important is on Tuesday, to try the new bike and to make the first step because we need to do a step this winter if we want to fight for a championship next year.
“To fight for the championship on 2023, I need to do one step in winter in myself and Honda need to do two steps,” Marquez confirmed on his ambition for the coming season. “I keep saying, it’s true that as we see today, front row. As we see Malaysia, front row, but on the race pace I’m struggling too much. You can see the other Honda riders are struggling a lot, crashing too many times but I accept and I believe in Honda a lot, so they can do it. I try to give all my comments, I know that on Tuesday will be not the last step of the bike but it will be important to see already the first step. Then we need to do another step to arrive in the level of the other manufacturers.”