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MotoGP, Marquez: “If we don't win we'll have failed"

Marc: "My shoulder was worse than we expected, it's a long road to recovery, both physically and mentally"

MotoGP: Marquez: “If we don't win we'll have failed"

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The road leading to Sepang passes by way of Madrid, where the Honda team lifts the curtain on the 2019 MotoGP season. A large part of the spotlight is on Jorge Lorenzo, the team's new-entry, who will do all he can to hinder Marc Marquez.

The seven-time champion continues with his recovery, following shoulder surgery in December, but his mind is already on the Malaysian test. Many wonder how the Spaniard is doing health-wise.

“My shoulder won't be 100% at Sepang – begins #93 - I'll do all I can to be competitive and give it my all of course. Unfortunately my shoulder was worse than the doctors and I first thought and this made for a more complicated surgery and recovery, both physically and mentally. I have to say that this has been my toughest winter yet”.

Marc found himself in a similar situation in 2014.

“It's true - he recalls - but this is a lot more complicated and, despite it all, that year was one of my best. The December surgery was more difficult and has sapped my physical energy. I don't yet have the strength or mobility I'd like in the shoulder, but it's getting better each day”.  

It's striking how many riders are hurting themselves while training, Lorenzo the latest victim. How come?

Because we spend more timing riding bikes when training than we do in the races. We'd all like to stay at home and relax, but this is part of the job. Perhaps some riders have a different strategy, but I am always aware of the risk training and the races can pose”.

Everyone considers you and Lorenzo the dream team. Is this an accurate definition?

“i don't like this term to be honest. To use this term, we need to wait until the end of the season, because the only thing that counts is the track and the results. Being on a team like Honda means fighting for the win or podium every Sunday, otherwise we'll have failed”.  

Many are curious to see what will happen in Qatar. What do you expect?

“I hope to be 100% by then. Personally, I expect a tough 2019 season, in which we'll need to plan everything in minute detail if we want to be competitive. Unfortunately, Lorenzo and I are not in top shape right now, but one of us needs to start testing the new components. Right now, the bike is competitive but we need to improve corner exit. We'll see what needs to be done together with the engineers". 

How will you get on with Lorenzo?

In motorcycling, there's a rule according to which your team-mate is also your main rival. Jorge will be able to count on the same material as me and so we might even end up helping each other without realising it, seeing as the bar will be raised once again this year"

In terms of battles between the greats, Lorenzo has cited the bond between Senna and Prost in F1.

“It's only normal that there's tension when the level is so high. The important thing is that this stays inside the garage. it's definitely better to have things out, like we did after the Aragon weekend, when Jorge and I spoke on the phone. In the past, these things occurred with Dani too, in 2013 and 2014, out on the track there was always respect and is key".  

You are considered the favourite. Are you more worried about Lorenzo or Dovi on the Ducati?

“This is Jorge's first year in Honda, but I expect him to immediately be one of the favourites. Then there's Ducati with Dovizioso, and also the two Yamahas with Rossi and Vinales, without forgetting the Suzukis”.

Marc does not mention KTM, with Dani Pedrosa on board as test rider this season.

“We'll miss Dani, as will the fans. For Honda, he was a very important rider, particularly for that sensitivity he had on the bike. Then we both had our own work group of course”.

The Honda presentation also saw the participation of two legends in the shape of Doohan and Criville. What are your memories of them?

“Being on a team that has seen such champions is a privilege for me. They were my idols and, from a young age, watching them on TV, I dreamed of becoming part of this world. In 2011, I received an offer to come to MotoGP, not with Honda though. I'm excited to be part of this family and don't feel the need to change. I feel as if I'm at the centre of the project and we have a winning mentality”.  

Translated by Heather Watson

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