The sheriff is really back in town, because Marc Marquez today confirmed that he is the true master of Austin, taking his second success this season after the equally dominating one at Sachsenring. The Spaniard really ran a perfect race, starting brilliantly and then lap after lap digging a groove so deep that it became unbridgeable already in the middle of the race. From then on, Marc could enjoy a downhill run to the chequered flag.
This result does not totally erase the doubts about the physical condition of Marc, who has only been able to win on two left-hand tracks and where he has always dominated in the past. The real litmus test on his return to the top is missing and this could perhaps be the next race at Misano, where the world championship will be back on track in three weeks for the third to last round of the 2021 championship.
"I felt a bit like the old-style Marquez - Marc said - it was a great Sunday today. At Sachsenring I honestly experienced it more as a gift. At Aragon I had struggled since Friday, but after Misano I told myself that I should have come to Austin to push hard. I immediately felt really good on Friday on the track, but I realized that I would have to manage Saturday, maybe riding only a little. I did that, and I came to the warm-up in very good shape, I felt comfortable and in the race I was able to do everything I wanted ".
Your race strategy was perfect…
"I got a really good start and in the first laps I was calm in managing my strength, then I pushed and created the gap. I didn't expect to be able to have such an advantage over Quartararo, but I was pleased to build it because I know that in a close combat I'm not quite right yet. There is a lot of talk about a fourth operation, but for now I don't have to do it, otherwise I would have another face. After three operations the mechanics of the body change a bit. Before Misano I did a check, and the bone is still not fully welded. There does not seem to be an infection, the doctor keeps me calm by saying that sooner or later I will be fine ".
So you don't feel 100% healed at all…
"I'm still not well, I know. In the T1 on this track in the past I was very strong, while this year I struggled in the changes of direction, I couldn't do them the way I wanted. Today I struggled, but the others also did a lot because this is a physical circuit. The problem is that even on tracks like Misano I finish as tired as I am today, because on the bike I have to work with the body in a strange way, basically twice as much. The others are cleaner and less tired. I’m doing everything the doctor asks me, he insists on me riding a lot. I’ve won two races this season, I’ve been on the podium but I'm still not well enough to fight for the championship next year. "
Now this strange season is coming to an end…
"This season is a strange and tough season for me. I have never felt anything like that in my career. The bad thing is that sometimes I crash and I don't understand why, just like I'm fast or slow and I don't understand why. Step by step, I am starting to ride and manage the situations better, but I am still far from that special confidence that I would like to find with the bike. Unfortunately I still feel a big difference between my right and left arm, in braking I cannot get into the saddle as I would like. I have limitations, but I can ride the bike well. On Thursday I asked the mechanics not to ask me about the arm. "
The rule that sees you dominating on tracks that turn left remains valid…
"The tracks that turn left have always been my favourite, but now with the injury to my right arm they are even more so. The reason is simple, when I have to turn right I suffer a lot more, while in the ones on the left I can ride naturally. I'm still riding pretty well now, even though I crash too often and can't even do the elbow saves I did before. But we're working hard on it and I feel I'm improving. I know Misano will be tough, but the last two races will be interesting for me. Portimao turns all the way to the right, so it will be a good testing ground. "
Is this still your favourite track even with all the bumps?
"I like this track very much, but safety has to come first. Something has to be done here from turns 2 to 10. If by chance it gets worse it would become too much. On Friday everyone was in trouble, while after working on the bike today it seems to me that things were going a little better for everyone. In the end the bumps are there and you have to decide how much to risk. If you go fast, you risk more. "
At what point is the Honda instead?
"Our bike needs to improve the handling of the rear. Often I am unable to take advantage of the grip of the new tyres and for this reason I always manage to have a constant pace in the race, but in my opinion this is not the way to be successful. I prefer to have a lot of grip and then manage it during the race. The bike doesn't work badly, on some tracks we have some problems, but it's improving. I still don't ride naturally, when I do I will be able to be fast ".
Did your crash in 2019 come to mind during the race?
"I thought about my crash in 2019 many times. Sometimes while I was braking hard I thought about that crash and this helped me to feel comfortable. I thought about it very often and in some points of the track I felt calm just not giving my best there. Basically, I ran with the ghost of the 2019 crash with me the whole race ".
Before coming into the press conference, we saw you on the phone. Who did you call?
"I called Puig first, he's a very important person for our team, he's the one who pushes everyone to the limit, from technicians to mechanics to engineers. He does it to make us better every season. He couldn't come here, so we spoke on the phone immediately after the race ".
Today we witnessed a bad accident in Moto3…
"Today in Moto3 it was a scary moment. While we were watching the TV everyone in the garage was silent. You never know and it has been a tough season for motorcycling. But what happened today was caused by the single movement of a single rider. I think the penalty of two races is heavy, but it’s also just to show others the punishment. You can't do manoeuvres like that, they are dangerous and can cause bad things to happen. For me it is good to intervene very hard in the smaller engine categories, to immediately stop certain behaviour ".