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MotoGP, Marquez: "me the comeback king? I'm not proud, we start from mistakes"

"It's a two-man world championship with a third hoping to latch on. Before I think about the title I have to be able to fight in qualifying. I'm not a better rider than 2013, I just have more experience. From Bagnaia and Martin I copy their strengths, every time I go out I learn new things. I would sign to finish the championship 3rd."

MotoGP: Marquez:

The Barcelona round has the flavor of a victory for Marc Marquez, who replicated a comeback for the fourth consecutive time since Le Mans. Starting 14th, the eight-time world champion intelligently managed the soft rear, "a forced choice," he would later tell reporters, but which the Spaniard was able to make the most of so much as to snatch the third step of the podium right from the same Aleix who was victorious on the Aprilia in Saturday's sprint. Marc Marquez celebrated with his own fans on the sidelines, dancing and going wild after going wild on the track at the expense of his rivals, chasing the two GP24s of Bagnaia and Martin on his own GP23 in Gresini colors.

A comeback that smacks of success then for Marc Marquez, who historically had not had it easy in Barcelona. However, there remains the bitter aftertaste of another underwhelming qualifying, "I don't like to make life difficult for myself," he said only yesterday, and to fight with the best Ducatis he must begin to correct his target. In the meantime, the Spaniard is studying his opponents through data, copying their strengths, working to adapt his own riding style perhaps still too tied to his many years at Honda. According to the standings, the strategy is working, Marc Marquez is third 41 points behind Martin, the season is still long but the premises to chase the dream are there for all to see, Ducati management in primis.

This is your fourth podium from a difficult qualifying in two race weekends. You are the comeback king.
" I actually don't feel particularly proud of this title, " jokes Marc, " to make these comebacks means we start from mistakes. Starting from 14th position I feel forced to use the soft rear, I don't know if it was a good or bad choice, but it gave me that grip in the first laps to make the first overtakes. In the last laps it was not easy to manage the tyre wear but I was able to fight with the Aprilia of Aleix who was using the medium and had something more. So overall I am happy, historically here I have always had difficulties all weekend, with the team we gave ourselves a fantastic podium."

Pecco on Friday pointed out that the GP23 had difficulties here in Barcelona, none of those bikes were in the top 10. How did you manage to change that in these two races to be able to fight with the best?
"That's one of the difficulties of racing a bike you don't know the first year. You can check the data from the previous year but with your riding style it is always different, when there is a problem then you always arrive late with the setup of the bike. Saturday morning we were able to find one that was going in the direction of the other Ducatis and that gave us the pace. Now we have to figure out how we can get a good time attack. Being on the podium here in Barcelona was important for me because it was one of the most difficult circuits."

What importance does this podium have compared to those in Le Mans and Jerez?
"It has more importance, in Jerez I had the pace to win but I didn't have the confidence to do it and I made a mistake, like also in the sprint. Also in Le Mans I had the pace to win, while here in Barcelona I didn't, I had the pace for a top 5 and starting 14th didn't improve the situation. In spite of that I tried to stay focused, not miss braking points and not lose too much time in overtaking, which is crucial to try to make a comeback. At the beginning it was not easy because some of them like Morbidelli were using the rear tyre a lot. Toward the end of the race I didn't even realize I was fighting for third place, I told the team I didn't want to know my position because I was too focused on the lap and my rivals. I am satisfied, but if I want to fight for the podium against these guys I will have to improve in qualifying."

How can qualifying be improved?
"I know what needs to be done, I have to figure out how to do it and be able to manage it. When I put on the new tyres I can't take full advantage of them because the rear pushes a lot on the front. It will be a question of setup but also of my riding style."

One of the keys to this race was tyre management. How did you work with the throttle to not wear them out too much?
"I did it by looking at Pecco's data from yesterday," the Spaniard admitted with a smile , "he had better management and when you can observe a rider in front of you you try to copy him. One of my strengths on the Honda was the long right-hand turns, and it is difficult now to change one's riding style but I am trying. In the same way I try to understand Jorge's style, from each of them I copy the best part. Obviously they have been using this bike for more years than I have, one is a three-time world champion, but I learn something new with every outing."

Stoner gave Ducati the #27 win, Pecco the #63, Bezzecchi the #72, Martin the #89... Ducati now has 92 wins, and the next race is at Mugello.
"Not at Mugello please! - interjected Bagnaia jokingly - Mugello is definitely not the best place to get the win - Marquez then continued - especially because I imagine Pecco will be very competitive there. At the moment there is no stress about it, I am having fun which is what matters at the moment. I'm counting on getting to the second half of the season with a bike with an improved setup, but for sure the GP24 will also take a step forward. Right now I have enough pressure to fight against these riders."

Ten years later, do you feel you have become a better rider? Can the GP23 still improve?
"I wouldn't say better, I just have more experience. I'm not better than 2013, back then I had that push in the qualifying lap that has now become one of my weaknesses. As for the GP23, if you prove to be competitive maybe something can come, but I am not pushing for it, I will try to get 100 percent out of this bike, which is not that far from the GP24 although in some areas maybe it is worse, but in others it could be better. Without trying the other bike I can't know."

You are now third in the standings at 41 points behind Martin. Has the time finally come when we can talk about a title fight?
"To fight for the title you first have to start fighting for the first two rows in qualifying. They have something more than me, but more importantly they are fast and consistent at every circuit. We have to figure out how to avoid struggling on Fridays and Saturdays, but if they had told me at the beginning of the season that after six races I would be 41 points behind the leader in the standings I would have signed up for it. Now I would sign to finish the championship in the top three, it would be a magnificent season."

It's a three-way world championship though.
"It's a world championship of two, with a third one hoping to latch on. If you can't fight for a world championship, it's not because you don't want to but because you don't have the chance, but you can't always go on salvaging the race like the last few weekends."

 

Translated by Julian Thomas

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