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MotoGP, Marquez: "I respect Pecco, today I was smart and avoided crashing"

"When there is contact, often the responsibility of avoiding the crash lies with the person who suffers it and today it was my turn. I'm happy, I'm not thinking about the world championship but I'm 32 points behind Martín. The tests? If Ducati wants to give me some gifts, it's welcome."

MotoGP: Marquez:

Marc Marquez believed in it all the way to the end in Jerez, convinced that he could finally bring an end to a break from victory that has lasted far too long. The exploit failed him because today Pecco Bagnaia was in an impressive state of form and as much as Marc was able to make life hard for him, the Ducati champion was able to respond blow for blow.

Second place in Jerez is in any case Marc's first Grand Prix podium with the Ducati and it was clear as early as Austin that it would not take long to see him there, since in the last two races, Marquez crashed while leading. The duel with Bagnaia was tough, but fair, and the Marquez who appeared at the press conference was obviously beaming .

"I had fun all weekend - his comment - because I was consistently one of the fastest riders on the track and that made me happy. It's true that the only mistake in today's race was maybe that in the first few laps I felt maybe too much weight on my shoulders from my mistake in the Sprint, so I was maybe too calm. But the important thing is that I knew right away I had a good pace, I was able to push hard right away and I caught Pecco."

When you caught up with Bagnaia how come you attacked right away?
"The first attack was necessary to do it right away because otherwise the front tire temperature would have risen too much and I would have had problems stopping the bike. A borderline situation, similar to what I experienced in the past with Martìn in Valencia. In such cases you risk zero points, so I preferred to lift the bike and lose the position and then try again later. But it was too late for my front end by then."

Do you think the duel was clean?
"I'm one of the riders who say ''this is racing.' I was pretty smart today, because if I hadn't given up at the right time, I, Pecco or maybe both of us would have crashed. In turn 10 I felt the blow on my arm and leg, at that moment you can crash alone or take your opponent to the ground as well. I lifted the bike, lost the position but got 20 points. Sometimes the rider who suffers the contact is not smart enough to avoid the consequences. Today I was smart enough to avoid it and then react by trying to recover."

In the parc ferme there was a hug with Pecco, is there respect between you?
"There is respect and rivalry with Pecco. As I said in Portimao, for me it is a pleasure to fight with him who is the world champion and the benchmark of Ducati. Today we fought again and I was fast enough to try to attack him. It was good to follow him, I could learn some things from him, he has strengths that I have to learn to exploit with the bike. Maybe in the future I will be closer to him."

Your last duel with Bagnaia for victory was at Aragon in 2021.
"At Aragon in 2021 it was different. Now Pecco is more used to fighting for victory, while I haven't fought for victory for practically two years, at least in the dry. For me the most important thing about the weekend is that I was fast and then in the race despite some positions lost at the start I had the pace to overtake the rivals and to close the one-second gap on Pecco and then try to overtake him. The last two laps the front tire had risen too much in temperature, I had some lock-ups. I didn't give up completely, but I didn't have the cue to give that extra that would have been needed. Then I definitely wanted to avoid making another zero after the one in Austin."

What were you missing today to win?
"Today I only missed the first five laps, because I was afraid of making mistakes. However, I don't think today I was slower than Bagnaia who won, we had the same pace. When you are in front it is easier, while with the Honda for example it was easier for me to follow a rival. With the Ducati I'm stronger when I'm alone. Let's see in the next races, but with one of the worst starts of the season in my career I'm 32 points behind the world championship leader, so I think we just need to continue like this and have fun until the end."

Are you thinking about the championship?
"For me it's early to think about the championship. In the sense that today I know that there will come some tracks on which I will suffer a lot. I think I have to keep working on my bike, because at the moment with the Ducati I feel that some of the strong points of my riding have less impact, but this is also true in reverse. Tomorrow will be an important test, because during the race weekend it is difficult to make big changes and I feel we need to take another step forward on the balance of the bike. We have to work on what we have, I will always give my best. But I see the commitment from Gresini and Ducati and that helps me a lot."

What is special about the Ducati? It dominated here in Jerez.
"The Ducati is the most complete bike on most tracks. Of course on some tracks other strong manufacturers will come in, but our Ducati is a bike that has huge potential and when you understand how to exploit it the fast laps start coming right away and I don't know sometimes why. Sometimes it's also strange because I get on the track and without doing anything special I lap fast. In the past I would sometimes struggle with the bike, whereas with this one I can be smooth and fast all the time. This brings me confidence and the thing that makes me happy is that until now I have never crashed from trying to ride beyond the limits. I crashed yesterday, but I passed on the wet. So I think I still have room to figure out where the limit is."

Today it was special to see so many spectators, so many were cheering for you.
"I'm Spanish, but it's not just about that. There was a huge crowd in the stands today, for me it's the best race of the season. When my friends ask me where they can see the best race of the season, I always point to Jerez because for me it is always the best. There is something special about it, in the city, in the circuit. And I am proud of that, because I am Spanish and for me this is the most beautiful race on the calendar as far as the fans are concerned."

Tomorrow in testing do you think you will have anything new from Ducati?
"I don't know exactly what I will have tomorrow to test. But when I signed the contract I knew I had a 2023 bike and that I would have to do the most with this bike and I would say it is a bike that works. I think I will work tomorrow to feel more comfortable, I have a little something to try. Then if some gift comes from Ducati it's welcome, but it's not up to me. I'm not pushing for that, my goal this year is simply to have fun and do the best I can with the team and my bike."

Fixed the brake problems you had in Austin?
"Yes, I've been working on it but we will work on it tomorrow as well. Even today while I was behind several riders I felt similar sensations to what I felt in Texas, but we have to be careful for the next races because the temperatures will go up on tracks like Mugello and Barcelona. But we know where the problem is, we just need to find the right temperature range for the brakes to work."

 

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