1 June 2015
MotoGP Italy: ‘Over the limit’ Marquez talks Mugello misery
“I was going over the limit every corner and then in the end I crash” - Marc Marquez.
Reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez made quick work of negating his career worst 13th place start in the Italian Grand Prix - only to see his title hopes dealt a further hefty blow when he crashed out of a podium place.
The incident was all the more frustrating for the Repsol Honda star since he had 'done the hard work' by carving his way to fourth on a typically daring opening lap.
With Jorge Lorenzo disappearing into the distance, Marquez spent the rest of his race battling for second, against the likes of Ducati riders Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso, plus team-mate Dani Pedrosa.
It came to premature end when Marquez lost the front of his RCV and slid out of third position on lap 18 or 23, just as championship leader Valentino Rossi joined the podium fight.
“The first laps were really good, especially lap one and this was what I planned. In my mind I needed to take the risk in the first few laps to try to be there and when I saw that after three laps I was behind Lorenzo I was really happy,” Marquez said.
“We did the most difficult work, the first laps, but then the second part of the race I was struggling a lot. I was going over the limit every corner and then in the end I crash. But OK, the most important thing is that we tried.”
Marquez's second DNF of the season, after the clash with Rossi in Argentina, means he has plummeted to 49 points - almost two race victories - behind Rossi after six of 18 rounds.
“33 points was already a lot to behind, 49 even more,” Marquez said. “But OK, we try. Now we want first of all to fix this problem for trying to ride in a good way and then we will see. But I will be the same Marc, so that means if in the next race I can win I will give 100% or even more.”
Marquez arrived at Mugello after a tough fourth place at Le Mans, when all the Honda riders struggled for front tyre grip in the race day heat. But at Mugello a long-standing lack of rear grip from the 2015 Honda proved his undoing.
“The problem was not like Le Mans because today the positive thing was the front [feeling] during the race," he explained. "I felt confident and I was riding only with the front wheel. The problem is that when the [rear] tyre dropped at lap 7-8 I had the same problems as always: Big slides on the entry [to the corners], no support on the rear and then I was riding only with the front tyre.
“When you are riding like this for 20 laps, in the end it is easy to lose the front one time.
“Like you see on TV, when I go into the corner I am sliding too much. Then I never stop the bike, so I push a lot on the front and then when I release the brakes still this slide continues and is the most difficult. We are working really hard to improve that.
“Last year I had those slides but always I controlled, always I felt the rear wheel. But this year for some reason I don't feel.
“Today in the first laps we had the speed with the new tyre. When I have the support on the rear I am riding really well and I feel really good with the bike. But the problem is with the used tyre.
“For example in the first laps at Jerez I was able to follow Lorenzo but when the tyre dropped a little bit I was sliding on the corner entry and it was more difficult.
“We are working very hard on that but it is not a problem that we will not fix from one race to another.”
Indeed, Marquez believes the 2015 “engine character” is at the root of the problems - but the development freeze means his engine can't be modified during the season.
“I go into the corner and it [the engine] is locking a lot on the rear,” he said. “That means I am pushing a lot with the front brake because I can only stop the bike with the front wheel, and this means you are pushing on the front tyre for the whole race.
“Then in the last laps the front tyre starts to move and you're pushing 100% every lap, every corner. You can save it from time to time, but not all the time.”
Marquez and Honda did make progress towards solving their second-biggest issue - aggressive corner-exit engine behaviour - by modifying the electronics this weekend.
In the absence of engine tweaks, and with electronics so far unable to make an impact, the Spaniard believes chassis changes will be needed to address the wayward corner entry.
“We fixed the exit of the corner a little bit. That engine character. We managed with the electronics. Still it's not perfect but now I'm able to ride well on the exit," he said.
“The entry looks like it is a more mechanical problem, but we will try to improve with the electronic or chassis. If we cannot change the engine we must work on the chassis to try to cover a little bit this problem.”
When might such parts arrive?
“I am asking to Honda already a few races ago and I know they are working really hard. They bring here the electronic maps, they bring in Le Mans one chassis from testing in Malaysia, they bring the new swingarm.
“They are working hard and for that reason I'm happy with them. I saw that they want to improve and they know that is a problem. We will see if we can improve as soon as possible.”
Dovizioso, who also failed to finish after a technical problem, explained what he saw from Marquez during the race:
“It just looks like his [Marquez's] bike is not good enough to stay with Yamaha and in some tracks also with us [Ducati]. The traction from Honda is not the best. He is really good in the braking. He gained always in the braking. But it looks like the bike doesn't have a perfect balance to make the rhythm like last year.
“I mean, I believe the level [in MotoGP] has become a little bit higher [this year] and maybe the Honda did not improve enough to stay with that level. I think Marc is riding the same, just now he is more on the limit for the bike and he made a mistake.”
The next event will be Marquez's home round in Catalunya.
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