Marc Márquez is well on the way to winning his sixth MotoGP title in seven seasons, dominating the class almost as completely as he did in 2014. He is making winning look easy again, despite the fact that other Honda riders will tell you that the 2019 RC213V is more difficult to ride, albeit more powerful.
How has Márquez managed to return to such dominant form? At Assen, I sat down with the reigning world champion to try to find that out. We talked about the strategy behind winning races, how to analyze how strong the competition is, and how not to get fooled by the data.
We also talked about what Márquez learned from 2015, and how he has managed to shape Honda, to try to create some continuity and improve the communication process inside the factory. And to wrap up, I asked Márquez whether he thought a perfect season, winning every race could be possible.
Q: I want to talk about winning. I find it really interesting, because you win so much. Is it easy to win a MotoGP race for you? It looks like it sometimes.
Marc Marquez: No, it's never easy, because when you think that it's easy or it will be easy, or before you start the weekend you say sometimes, this circuit is good and it will be easy, then it becomes more difficult. So in the end, the way to prepare the weekend, the way to do the meetings, all these things, every weekend you have to do it in the same way. Sometimes it gets more difficult, sometimes easier, some years it’s easier, some years it’s more difficult. But in the end sometimes you go out and for some reason on Sunday in the race you feel really good, really smooth and then it becomes easy, like for example in Argentina this year. But then some days you go out, and then you are pushing, pushing, pushing and for some reason the distance is there and you cannot open a gap.
Q: The Barcelona race was interesting because it didn’t feel to me like you were comfortable all weekend. You did not seem like the normal comfortable Marc. But then something happens in the race, you get a little bit of a gap and that’s enough for you to manage. It becomes easier than it might have been if you had had Maverick, Valentino, Jorge, Dovizioso, or anyone else there?
MM: It’s true that Montmelo was a strange weekend, but it was all related to the tires. When you manage the tires in one way or another way. In Montmelo we managed them in a different way, but for that reason in the press conference, in everything, I was quiet. On Friday for example I was far behind on the timesheets, but I knew that I was there. And for that reason sometimes I say, yes, we are far behind, but we are not far. And sometimes we are there, and I say, we are far behind. Because you know how you did the lap or how you were pushing. But in Montmelo I was riding in a good way and I knew, OK, on Sunday we can fight for the victory.
Q: Is it easy for you to tell how strong the competition is as well? Because I look at the timesheets and I can see who’s got how many laps in low 1:40s and someone else has got high 1:40s. But then when you come to the race, it turns around.
MM: In MotoGP you need to analyze only FP2 and FP4. FP1 and FP3, it's like you can forget for the rhythm, because you will not find this temperature in the race. And then when you have low temperature, the grip is unbelievable and the bikes are working well. It’s like in the test on Monday in Montmelo, everybody was fast at the end of the day because there was a lot of rubber on track. Sometimes you need to analyze these first two runs of FP2 and FP4. The first two runs are the real conditions you will find in the race.
Q: That’s where you understand and get an idea of who’s competitive?
MM: Who will be fast and who will be slow.
Q: They say about Valentino Rossi that on Sunday morning he would always find something. It seems to me it's much more difficult, because warm up on Sunday is so much colder, conditions are very different. Can you really learn anything in a warm up session?
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