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MotoGP, Marc Marquez: "It's a podium that gives me confidence, but it's too early to be euphoric"

"It's a pleasure to be back fighting with the fastest riders, Pecco and Martin. They have the bike in hand, we have to work. I'm waiting for the Jerez test, I have things in mind. In qualifying I made a big mistake with the lowering device. Now I ride better alone than behind someone else, the opposite than in Honda."

MotoGP: Marc Marquez:

Marc Marquez has more and more in control of his GP23, and he is proving it this weekend in Portimao by keeping a high pace and also going out on a limb with some mistakes in trying to approach the limits of this Ducati. The crash during qualifying, due to a prematurely engaged lowering device, came at a dear cost to the Spaniard who was relegated to a start from the third row in eighth position.

In the Sprint, however, the Spanish champion put in a fast comeback with a series of overtaking moves that led him to sniff for a moment the exhaust fumes of Bagnaia's GP24, who by then was getting well away. Then another mistake, betrayed at the same corner, which set him back a few positions, then fighting closely between the Aprilia of Vinales and the GP24 of Martin. A second step of the podium then, and a performance that put a smile on the face of the Spaniard and the fans, but Marc Marquez does not allow himself easy enthusiasm and analyzes his strengths as well as his weaknesses, as he is showing increasing confidence on his new GP23.

"I am very satisfied with the race," commented Marc Marquez, " this second place is another step forward in a bigger process. However, I always like to analyze the broader perspective, I am very demanding with myself. I did a big mistake on that qualifying practice, which led me to start on that third row, and it was easy to be on that second row.  Starting on that third row penalizes you a lot, but today we were able to be fast, we have the speed and this is the most important thing from thje weekend, that we have more speed than in Qatar. This is helping me to overtake and be more constant."

You made a great comeback, does that mean that confidence on the Ducati is increasing?
"Yes confidence has increased, but we must not forget yesterday's crash and today's crash, which were due to a lack of knowledge of the bike's limits. I will try to understand some things from the next race tomorrow, from the one in Austin and the one in Jerez, and then the tests, I have several things on my mind. So even though it's clear that this result gives me a lot of confidence we shouldn't get too caught up in the euphoria because we still have a lot of work to do. For now I want to keep a low profile, although it is a pleasure to be back fighting among the fast riders, especially Pecco and Martin who are the ones with the best form."

If you had started from the second row, would the result have been different?
"It's hard to say, because I had a very good second lap and at one point in the race I was behind Pecco who was leading at the time, then I made a mistake in turn five. In the end Vinales had a great race with an incredible time . Tomorrow starting from that third row maybe will be better after today's result, but we have to stay focused and figure out how much we can achieve in the next race."

You mentioned the mistake in qualifying, it seems to be related to the lowering device activated too early.

“Basically, normally you need to engage when you roll the gas and it was a big mistake because I engaged it still when I was on gas. That was the mistake, but with all the bikes this will happen. If you are on the gas and you touch the button, it will engage the rear device. The thing is that of course it’s in a different position… I cannot explain. My mechanics say ‘why you push?’. I say ‘I push’, and I didn’t expect that I pushed but I pushed too early. And on the images it’s easy to see. It was a big mistake just to learn for the future.”

Among the Ducatisti today you were the fastest, but in the left turns you said you were the best. How does that set you against your rivals in Ducati?
"Unfortunately, most of the circuits turn to the right ," the Spaniard joked , "but it's something I also had in Honda, left-hand turns have always been one of my strong points and even on the Ducati already in Valencia I was handling them well. In the same way, however, long right-hand turns on the run-in are a weak point of mine. I have to work especially on that, I have something in mind about that at the Jerez tests but for now we have to wait and continue to learn as much as possible on this Ducati."

In turn five you seem to have problems, is it something related to the bike?
"I can't give myself an answer yet, and more I can't say or the men in red would come and take my head, " he joked again , "it's something that can cost you the race but it can also be an advantage, like in overtaking Martin, but it's a dangerous movement of the bike.

What lessons did you learn today from the duel with Martin, how much have you improved since Qatar on this Ducati?
"The positive thing is that now I ride better when I'm alone than when I'm chasing someone, which is the opposite of what happened last year in Honda. Behind Martin I understood something about how to deal with the last corner, tomorrow with the medium at the rear we'll see if I can be more consistent there. Martin is very strong in braking, but in the last stages of the race he had some difficulties related to tire wear."

Dueling against Martin, is the GP23 so different from the GP24?
"I have a really competitive bike, I didn't feel big differences today, I'm very satisfied."

What are your expectations for tomorrow's race?
"A lot will depend on the start and the first three laps, it's hard to make predictions now. Starting from the third row is not the best, but it will be a long race, but with a good start victory or a podium is always a possibility. But it's not going to be easy, we're talking about a Pecco, a Martin and a Vinales who are fast and consistent, and as fast and consistent as you can be, starting behind them forces you to have to catch up in the race, we're all really going to the limit and we're talking about riders who have the bike in their hands, and to risk more you can make mistakes."


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