His zero result today does not change the situation in the overall standings for Marc Marquez, still solidly in command with an advantage of 23 points over Valentino Rossi. More than anything else, number 93’s fall and Pedrosa’s crash raise a question mark: what is the Honda’s performance level right now? Today Ducati won and with Dovizioso they did the double, Valentino’s Yamaha has improved to the point of a podium finish and Maverick Viñales is third in the standings.
The adversaries are growing and the RCV struggled with the heat and asphalt at Mugello: “In reality, it was only a problem connected to the front tyre – the World Champion explains – Before the start, I knew that it would be a hard race, to ride with the goal of taking home championship points. We tried to work on the bike’s setup to make the new front Michelin work well, knowing that with the usual medium, I wouldn’t have been able to go race distance. In fact, I tried the hard, but I fell on turn 10, losing the front. Besides this, we struggled quite a bit, but we were sorted in terms of race pace and will consider it for the future.”
Without the crash, would a podium finish have been possible?
“The bike was not perfect, but I was fast even after the crash. Maintaining Lorenzo’s pace was impossible, but I think we could have tried to match the pace of the other two – Dovi and Valentino – maybe trying to attack them in the finale. In the morning, the bike was perfect and then in the afternoon it changed: I won’t make excuses, but the tyre choice this weekend was a first and we suffered for it because the hard front gave me various problems over the three days, where I risked falling several times.”
After the contact with Petrucci, did you expect a penalty?
“At the start, I was trying to push to stay with the riders that had the soft tyre. There were three of us battling on turn 2 and I realised that Petrucci was coming up the inside and we touched, making both of us lose time. At that moment, it was hard to maintain control of the bike. In any case, despite the zero, we learned something new and in spite of the crash, I won’t cry over it any more. We are human and sometimes we make mistakes. I am disappointed with the zero, but the most important thing is the 23-point advantage that we still have.”
A lot of rumours are going around. What can you tell us about your future teammate?
“I don’t know. You have to ask Honda. What I can say is that the team is looking for a teammate who will be a strong as possible and I know that a few riders have rejected the offers they received. We have won three races this year, but whoever arrives should know that the RC 213 is not an easy bike to ride. The Honda is difficult to take to the limit. You have to push hard and always stay focused to squeeze out its full potential.”
This year once again, Marc was showered with derisive whistles and insults from the Mugello fans. Without dramatizing, he minimises and throws sand on the flames. “The funny thing is that the fans cheered more for my crash than they did for Lorenzo’s win, but that is part of our sport. Speaking of Barcelona, I hope that my fans are – first and foremost – motorcycle racing enthusiasts. That is the most important thing for me. People need to respect every rider. We risk our lives on the track and we can’t control every single fan. When Pirro crashed and ended up in hospital, all of us riders kept asking how he was. That shows you the spirit of fair play among us.”
Has the championship been reopened?
“I am not happy with this result, obviously. There are those who said that I would be champion, hands down, but I keep saying that the championship is still very long and anything can happen. In the end, even if Lorenzo won, showing that he is still a winning rider, I have always said it. Jorge just needs to find the right situation and he’ll be back at the front. He showed that today. For us, the situation hasn’t changed. We are still 23 points in the lead and that’s what counts.”