9 August 2015
MotoGP Indianapolis: Marquez, Pedrosa play down team orders
"We are not in the situation to do this, because I think Dani also can win many races" - Marc Marquez.
Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa have played down the chances of team orders being used to help Marquez hunt down the MotoGP championship leaders.
Marquez is a distant 65 points from Valentino Rossi and 52 from the other factory Yamaha of Jorge Lorenzo after early-season handling woes with the 2015 Honda.
But the reigning double champion has been back in control of his RCV since switching to last year's chassis at Assen, only losing out on victory at the final corner before winning next time in Germany.
The Honda momentum has continued at Indianapolis, where Marquez and Pedrosa will start first and second on the grid, with Lorenzo third and Rossi back in eighth.
Clearly the more riders Marquez can put between himself and the Yamahas, the greater his chances of pulling off an incredible championship comeback. But that doesn't automatically mean Pedrosa's form is good news for him.
“Dani is in a good performance, but that also means he can beat me!” Marquez said. “At the moment we are first and second here, also in Germany. Sure will arrive some racetracks where we will struggle a little bit more.
“But I'm happy for the team because honestly we were struggling in the first races and now I come back, Dani come back, so it looks like everything is coming better. But yeah, sometimes maybe we can put him in the middle, but sometimes also he can beat me.”
That would not be an issue if Pedrosa, who missed three races due to arm-pump surgery and is an impossible 112 points from Rossi, was instructed by Honda not to beat Marquez.
Would Marquez like to have such assistance?
“No, because we are not in the situation of this and you know already in 2013 we did our [own] race in Valencia [the Marquez vs Lorenzo title showdown] and we are not in the situation to do this, because I think Dani also can win many races from here to the end of the season,” Marquez replied. “Just we must concentrate on our work and try to be the best of the weekend. It's logical and normal that everyone is doing their own job.”
Asked if helping Marquez reduce the championship gap or winning Sunday's race was his priority, Pedrosa replied:
“I think you know the answer! Of course I would like to win the race because it's been hard at the beginning this year, but I know I'm coming [back] little by little. Obviously being in the front is better for the team. I just have to focus on doing my race the best I can and if this means I can stay in the front, for a win or a podium, it's always positive.”
Commenting on the title fight, Pedrosa did admit his return to form could spice things up for the Yamahas.
“Jorge had a very good rhythm in four different tracks and he was able to win four races. So he recovered many points. Then Valentino won and took some points,” Pedrosa said. “It's very difficult to say how it's going to be, but at least it's very interesting to see this fight and also now we are getting closer and faster and can stay more in-between [the Yamahas]. This can make things even more interesting.”
The Repsol Honda pair also reflected on the handling problems with this year's RC213V. Marquez confirmed that despite his decision to move back to the 2014 frame, he still believes the 2015 engine - which cannot be modified due to the development freeze rules - is the root of the bad braking 'character'.
“We are using the 2014 chassis, exhaust and quite a lot of things. But the swingarm is 2015 that I think is better, but the thing is that the engine is 2015 and I think the character [braking problem] is coming from there,” he said. “We've improved but still we must work because I think the character is there, but we are coming closer and closer.”
“At the beginning of the season we had many bike problems,” added Pedrosa, who uses a different 2015 frame. “Now we know where the problems come from, so we are adjusting a little bit the bike to make it a little more easy to ride and stable. But still like Marc says the character is there so we have to handle a little bit, but obviously we are a little stronger than before and this is positive.”
Marquez has won all six of his previous MotoGP races in America and hasn't been beaten at the Indianapolis circuit since 2010, when he was competing in the 125cc class.
The #93 sat a daunting 0.6s clear of Friday leader Lorenzo during final practice, the session dedicated to race preparation, but doesn't expect such an advantage in the race.
"Maybe the six tenths aren't completely 'real' and there is actually only one or two tenths difference, but the positive thing is that we managed to turn around the gap that we had to Jorge yesterday,” he said. “There is still the warm-up tomorrow and I think everybody is improving, as the track condition is changing and we have to continue to adapt to it. Right now Jorge is the toughest rival and we must be vigilant.
“Tyre degradation will be the key to the race because I think everyone will be struggling for rear grip in the last laps.
“Since Holland I've got again last year's feeling. In the first part of the season I wasn't able to be constant with the lap pace. Maybe for one lap the speed was the same [with the 2015 or 2014 chassis], but to be constant in the race is much better.”
Rossi and Lorenzo have both made clear that Marquez is not out of title contention. "Marc is at the moment far, but it depends on the results in the next races. If he starts winning he can get very close," said Lorenzo on Saturday.
Marquez has won two of the nine races so far this year. Pedrosa is without a victory since Brno 2014, when Marquez's perfect run of ten straight wins came to an end.
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