The championship reaches its final stages, after a short break the riders are preparing to tackle the last trio of rounds. First stop is the Sepang circuit, where the battle between Ducati riders Martin and Bagnaia promises sparks. The Spaniard, having recovered from setbacks in Indonesia and Australia, is more aggressive than ever, with only 13 points separating them, little more than the points from a sprint race in which Martin has proved to be an absolute star in this second phase of the championship. However, the Spaniard does not hide the fact that he feels the pressure of a challenge in which keeping a clear mind and not making errors of judgment will tip the balance in this last rush of the season. Perhaps another type of pressure could also prove to be crucial, that of the tyres after the warning received in Thailand, a round that gave the Pramac team rider his fourth double victory of the season, a success that testifies to his incredible physical and mental form, now recognized even by his adversaries.
After the Buriram weekend you took a break in Bali, to celebrate the result but also to ease the pressure before the final rush.
"After the race I was really happy - says Jorge - It was a magnificent weekend, with my fourth double victory in this championship. I stayed in Bali because I have always had difficulty managing jet lag and I thought it was also a good idea to stay in the same climate, it could also help here in Malaysia. To be honest, however, the pressure hasn't decreased, I've had far too much time to think about everything, I doubt I would have preferred to jump on the bike for another race. Now I don't I can't wait to put myself to the test here in Sepang too."
A curiosity, at Mandalika Pecco put his hand on his ear on the podium, you made the same gesture in Buriram.
"I swear it was just a coincidence! - jokes the Spaniard - I was simply elated by the victory, no strategy. After two mistakes I managed to recover the gap, that's what makes me most proud of the work done over the last weekend".
In Malaysia you also set the fastest lap last year, but in the race a mistake cost you the race. Has the time come to get even with the Sepang circuit?
"Yes, there were a few laps left to close the gap but unfortunately my efforts ended up in the gravel. I hope that this year with the new asphalt things will go differently, it seems that the bumps will be fewer and maybe even the lap times will come down further."
MotoGP has become extraordinarily technical and competitive, has this added to the stress of the title race in Thailand?
"I think a lot of it is also due to the incessant rhythm of the calendar, in the moments between one race and another you have time to think, but then when I put the wheels of the bike on the circuit I only think about the race. Today I'm quite relaxed and I am confident that I can do well here in Malaysia too."
Your performances and the possibility of you winning the title have given rise to rumours that you will be in the official Ducati team next year, alongside your rival Bagnaia.
"I can't say much about it, personally I would be proud to continue my career with the Pramac team, but I would be equally happy at the possibility of joining the Factory team."
The championship has reached its final stages, every little mistake could make the difference. In Buriram you received a warning for tyre pressure, could this create an additional difficulty for you in the next races?
"It was a small mistake that we will obviously have to deal with, but the important thing was to have picked up another 25 points. However, the other victories came with normal tyre pressure, so the only real difficulty will be the management of the pressure at the front should I find myself in a tow".
In the last few races, you dominated from the first laps, do you prefer that type of victory rather than a fight won overtaking after overtaking?
"I like to start in the lead of the race, after all I run on my own for the entire weekend, I can maintain my concentration better. In some ways being behind others is easier, you just have to chase them, but from the point of view of race strategy being at the front is a considerable advantage."
Bautista will also race here in Sepang. Will the Spaniard fresh from his second World Superbike title benefit from a wildcard, will he be an extra rival on the track?
"It's difficult to have expectations on the performance of a rider, I think that at the Misano tests he proved to be competitive, we know that he is a fast rider and also very light, this on the straight could give him an advantage. I wish him to be competitive, but the level of MotoGP remains very high."
Martin, however, has quite clear ideas about his expectations on the Sepang circuit.
"Last year I was very competitive even though I wasn't as in tune with the bike as I am now. Even at the tests the results were very positive, so I think the conditions are excellent, also thanks to the new asphalt. The target is to recover points, whether it's 3, 4 or 10 it won't make a difference, I would like to arrive in Qatar again as the world championship leader."