This Marc Marquez flies like a seagull at Phillip Island, insinuating to everyone that he aims to get back on the top step of the podium. The poleman put on a brilliant performance in qualifying, beating Maverick Viñales (his nearest rival) by no less than three tenths. Dovizioso finished all the way back in eleventh place, but he doesn’t trust his direct rival for the title.
“I must say that I have felt good throughout this weekend – number 93 began – This is a crucial moment in the season and I am happy with the result. During qualifying I also found traffic – he recalled – including Iannone who followed me, but at the end of the day I am out front and that’s what counts.”
Slipstreams are the talk of the day here in Australia.
"Andrea followed me today, but I think that it is normal to get behind a rider when he is faster than you. I have done it in the past too.”
In view of the race, there are a few aspects that the Spaniard will lose sleep over.
“I think one of the main problems is the weather – Marc commented – When it rains, like today, the track does not get entirely wet, but there is just a very treacherous and slippery film. It also gets more complicated to find the limit.”
He may be second in the battle for the Championship, but Andrea Dovizioso will be starting from the eleventh spot on the grid tomorrow. Don’t underestimate him, though.
“In Motegi Andrea started ninth, but after just four laps he was behind me straight away – he recalled – Among other things, Viñales is also very fast here, as is Zarco. It will be a good battle. The important thing is to finish on the podium and stay ahead of Andrea.”
One might wonder if, given the Italian’s starting position, number 93 might not implement a different strategy.
“I’ll have to be perfect at the start, but running away at the front would be a mistake – he revealed – partly because we don’t know how the tyre will perform after 4 PM. The race at Phillip Island is very long with 26 laps. I can say that in the left-handers I feel better than in the right-handers and I had a good feeling with the medium tyre.”
In this season finale, the Championship Title seems to be more balanced than ever in the top positions.
"It is incredible to see the level that the Championship has reached – Marquez analysed – It is nice for us and also for the fans and the entire staff.”
Getting back to the race, looking forward to 2018, the riders have requested a time change.
“Given the conditions, I think that the best thing would be to race by three in the afternoon, because after four everything gets more complicated for us, particularly in terms of the dropping temperatures.”