OK, we got Marc’s new way of racing; we spoke with him about the new electronics and about the controversial RCV 2016. So, what is missing? Yes, you are right: the Michelin tires. Having been considered the biggest specialist at squeezing the most out of the Bridgestone front tire in every braking zone, how much has Marquez had to retrain himself? His answer was very interesting and in it probably there is a part of Marc’s new way of racing.
“A lot. I’ve had to retrain myself a lot, mostly in preseason. Now, the front has got closer to the Bridgestone. Logically, it isn’t the same, but it allows you to brake late, with confidence, although you still have some moments that you don’t understand. For example, in free practice in Holland, when I was accelerating in a straight line. It was strange [for the front to tuck] there. It’s normal that something occasionally happens. Normally it doesn’t, but whether you like it or not, you lose confidence in these moments. Especially when overtaking, because with the Bridgestone you would say, ‘Meh, a little more and the tyre will hold’. With this it’s a little more and… The limit is smaller, and narrower. With Bridgestone you had moments but normally you would save them. With Michelin, if you have a moment, 90 percent of the time you crash”.
Our intention when we sat down with Marc was basically speak about racing and bikes, ignoring other extra sport issues. But there were two topics that were a must to talk about: Dani Pedrosa’s quotes accusing Marc of being responsible for choosing a wrong engine and the gesture in Barcelona that theoretically served to make peace with Valentino Rossi
“I didn’t give them much importance”, Marquez said about his teammate’s quotes. “He knows that Honda took both of us to test the new bike in Jerez. In the end, you may have certain feelings, but what guides Honda is the lap time. And on this occasion, both my fastest time and his were with this new engine. It’s true that this bike is a little heavier, and it’s a little more difficult to ride; it was a little bit more tired. Maybe for his riding style the other engine would have been better. But I’ll say it again. If you have two riders and both are faster with one bike than the other, and I was the faster of the two, the comments of the rider who has been quicker carry more weight. And the fastest rider at the time was I. So my comments were more important”.
Why did Pedrosa then explode? “I’m not sure. I think he’s had good races. But although he’s doing things well and is giving 100 percent, the results haven’t come. He could have felt a little cornered and made these comments that in a less emotional moment he wouldn’t have said them”.
“Yeah, I believe in it”, said Marc when we asked him if he believed in the sincerity of Valentino Rossi’s handshake in Montmelo after the race. “In this moment in Montmelo everything was very raw, and after the race when he beat me, we glanced at each other and it was almost like a reflex. In the future you may call me fool, or not (laughs), but I believe it. I would have done it a lot earlier but it came at this moment. And it’s good that it happened for the championship. I’m not going to tell you that we’re friends, but at least there’s a professional relationship, which is the minimum of what’s needed. Not only with Valentino, but each rider on the grid”.
“Before the situation was uncomfortable, not just for the both of us, but for all the press. Now it’s more comfortable. At the end of the day, you’re in your pit box, he’s in his box and nothing changes. But we’re all riders and we’re playing and fighting on the track. There has to be a cordial relationship, although after, on track, it’s total battle!”