Special guests on day one at EICMA included no other than current MotoGP world champion, Marc Marquez. The Spaniard travelled to the Milan show directly from Malaysia, without even calling in at home first. The #93 rider received a warm welcome, struggling to move between the exhibition halls following his latest win at Sepang.
“Each year we try to improve and avoid past mistakes – commented the seven-time champion - at Sepang, despite not being sorted, I was able to fight for the win, while on other occasions I've finished far from the front or even crashed. I think this has been the biggest difference and will be useful for the future”.
In Malaysia Marc had to deal with Rossi's pace, before the Doctor crashed out.
“Valentino's race really surprised me, because it wasn't easy to maintain that pace in those conditions, even less so on a track where one lap takes a good two minutes. The last laps are the worst, because you're out of liquids and energy too”.
Many would have liked to see a #93-#46 duel.
“It would have been great, seeing as I'd already secured the title. I think we were both at the limit with the tyres, but that's how it went. It's a pity it ended that way, with Vale's crash, but that's racing and the important is that were able to win the race."
Malaysia is now in the past and Marc prefers to look ahead. There are new elements to Honda in 2019, not least new entry Jorge Lorenzo.
“There's always curiosity every time a new rider arrives. Sometimes it can be useful to observe him, because perhaps you can learn something, while on other occasions it's the opposite”.
Marc already knows who he'll be up against.
“Let's see, I expect Ducati to be fast of course, but I hope to take another step with the Honda. Consistency is what will make the difference, that's always key, that combined with speed”.
Let's not forget the tyres and electronics.
“We need to focus on the front particularly, trying to find the right compromise with the tyres, which are always a fundamental component. The electronics are the focal point of the bike, also because they impact on the engine. With the single ECU you are immediately at the limit which probably isn't the best for the manufacturers, but perhaps it's better for a rider, as he can make the difference".
There are those who ask how it would be to race without the electronics?
“Do you want to see me fly into the air (he asks jokingly)? I think the current bikes are made to race by exploiting the electronics, this is the future of our sport. Personally, I have a good level of confidence, but there's always room for improvement”.
Finally, he touches on riders who reach the top class without moving up the categories in the classic way.
“I don't really agree with taking riders and bringing them straight into MotoGP. Look at Joan Mir for example, he's a good rider but we've seen him struggle having moved from moto3 to Moto2 this season. I think Pecco Bagnaia's move is more logical, he's won the title and deserves the promotion”