Not even falling from a comfortable lead in the Australian MotoGP could upset newly crowned double MotoGP champion Marc Marquez.
Marquez looked set to equal Mick Doohan's all-time record of twelve wins in a season, having bolted four-seconds clear of Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo with ten laps to go.
But disaster struck when Marquez lost the front of his Repsol Honda under braking for the tight MG corner, during the plunge from Lukey Heights.
“Just I was trying to do a different kind of race,” began Marquez, speaking in the Phillip Island paddock on Sunday evening. “I was pushing a lot from the beginning, but then from the middle of the race I saw it was getting colder and it was so difficult to get temperature on the right side [of the tyre].
“The crash was so strange. Like Crutchlow, like many riders. Because on that brake point I was even slower - we compared the data - but the front locked. The crash was exactly the same as many others.”
While the podium was filled by Yamaha riders using the extra-soft front tyre, Marquez and the other RC213V riders opted for the new asymmetric soft. Marquez explained that they had no choice.
“We knew there was some risk with this tyre because yes it was asymmetric, but the part in the brake point was the '33' compound, the hard side,” he said. “But the problem is that with Honda it was impossible to finish the race with the '31' [extra soft]. Even Lorenzo seemed to struggle. With Honda the '31' was already destroyed after ten laps and for that reason we didn't have more options.”
Marquez indicated that the decision to back off and ride more carefully may have proved his undoing.
“On the first laps in the brake points I was pushing really, really hard. But then I tried to brake earlier and maybe that didn't warm enough the tyre and for that reason I crashed. But when I saw four seconds in only 15 laps, I saw that I was doing a great race...”
Marquez added that, in a race where he was looking to match Doohan's record, his early make-a-break tactics had also been inspired by the five time 500cc world champion.
“I was trying to do Doohan style!” Marquez laughed, when asked to explain what he meant by trying 'a different kind of race'. “But in the end I did like Doohan [in 1997] when he was leading this race and in the first corner he crashed!
“I tried to push a lot from the beginning, from the first lap, to open a gap and I was able to do it. Then at the easiest point I crashed. The important thing is that in the most difficult point, the first part of the race when normally Yamaha is strong, we were really strong.
“We got experience for next year but of course riding without pressure, you try different things and sometimes things can happen.”
Marquez will have two more chances to match Doohan's win record, starting at Sepang in Malaysia next weekend.