It doesn't matter how many times you do it, winning a title is always special. That's how it is for Marc Marquez, and celebrating a World Championship has become a great habit. 2019 was a year to remember, one in which Marc learned not to make mistakes and demonstrated strength and courage during every race, against every rival.
In the end, he put the 8 ball in the corner pocket and ended the game in Thailand, winning a tug of war against Quartararo, which many see as his nemesis. We'll talk about it again in the future because the present is only about Marquez.
Here's how he explained his season.
"My best year. Now it'll be difficult to further improve."
"This is my best MotoGP season. True, I had won 10 races in a row in 2014, but the difference between the bikes was greater. Now, there are at least 4 manufacturers that are capable of winning. There were races where I fought against Ducati, others against Suzuki, and still others against Yamaha, but the most important thing is that I've always been up in front. If you only look at my advantage in the standings, you could say that it was easy, but managing the pressure, when everyone expects you to make a mistake and wants to beat you, is not at all simple. You can't understand how much work I did at home and how many times I've stopped myself from falling. We try to improve every year, but it'll be difficult to do after this season. Besides my fall in Austin, I always finished first or second, and I won the title with 4 races to go. If I fail to improve this year, I'll at least try to repeat it. Fortunately, the rider counts more than the bike in the MotoGP, but it's always a compromise. More so, one's own level also depends on the level of your rivals. If they raise theirs, you're forced to do it too."
"To take two steps forward, you sometimes have to take one back."
"2015 was the only year when I didn't win the MotoGP title. You sometimes you have to take one step back to take two forward. I was 22 years old. I wasn't experienced, and I learned a lot from that season. I often fell, and I realized that my weakness was consistency, which became my greatest merit this year."
"Without my team and my family, I wouldn't be here."
"Without my team, my family, my co-workers, and my fan club, I wouldn't be here. Even if I'm the only one here talking about this victory, I couldn't have achieved certain results without them. It's very difficult for a rider to keep the same level and the same concentration throughout the year, but it's even more for the team. We all work for the same goal. I know that I repeat myself every year, but I dedicate this victory to my family, the fan club, my collaborators, the team. I like to come to the circuit and find a good environment. Professionalism is the first thing, but I like spending time with people I feel good being with. They psych me up, they're happy when I win, and they motivate me when I'm struggling."
"I don't care about the numbers. I want a show."
You can win a lot or a little during your career, but people remember Mamola more than other champions. Why? For the show he put on on the track. I always want to do something special, like today at the last turn. It's ambition that makes me win but sometimes even lose. My team tries to control me, but that's my character. You say I'm close to Rossi's and Agostini's numbers? I've never been obsessed with numbers, and I don't want to become it now. We must enjoy the moment, know how to evolve and reinvent ourselves, but being obsessed is not good."
"I didn't win at Motegi, with Honda's blessing."
A few days ago I received a message from Nomura, a big boss at Honda. It said: 'Close in Thailand.' I thought: 'Thanks for not putting pressure on me.' He laughed. "Now I want a triple crown. I'm going to try. And then I'll start to think about 2020, from Motegi. By the way, one statistic says that I always lose the race after winning the title. I'm going to try to debunk that."
"Winning the race was an extra motivation."
I'm very happy, of course. When you have a big advantage in the standings, you always look for extra motivation. Like I 've been saying the past few days, my goal was to win the race, and that's what I did. Did I think of settling? At about the 10th lap, I almost had a second of a gap from Quartararo. I told myself that if he hadn't slowed down, it would have been impossible for me to win. But then I did my fastest lap. I pushed to the limit for 2 laps, and I caught up, so I realized that I could battle it out till the end."
"Quartararo will be among my main rivals for the title in 2020."
"Fabio was incredible. He was very fast in the first 10 laps, and I was in trouble with the front, and going up against him was't easy. It's been a few races that I've been saying that he'll be one of my main rivals for the title next year. He'll be even stronger with more experience.
He's riding the Yamaha very well with a style that reminds me of Lorenzo at his best. The year went more or less as I thought it would, but I didn't expect Fabio to be at this level. He was a surprise, and he keeps getting faster."
"Honda is not an easy bike, but if you know how to ride it, it's a winner."
"Takeo Yokohama is a very direct and sincere person. Last year he told me: 'Ducati overtakes us on straights. It won't happen again.' And that's how it went, but ours is a critical bike. You have to ride it with your body, have confidence. If you're able to, then you can win nine races in a year, like I did. If it weren't competitive, I wouldn't have won. You always have to be very careful with the Honda. I noticed it in Austin and even in Argentina, I was about to fall. I know that Lorenzo and Crutchlow are struggling, but we're all working together to improve the bike and be stronger next year, also because our rivals are not sleeping. The frame is our priority. Now that we have power, we need to improve in corners, where Yamaha makes a difference."
Audio recorded by Marco Caregnato