Marc Marquez can scarcely believe his position at the head of the MotoGP World Championship after the Repsol Honda rider won Sunday's drama-filled race in Argentina to take an eight point lead at the top.
Marquez struggled during pre-season with the RC213V but has made sterling progress with the Michelin tyres and control ECU from the opening race in Qatar, where he also finished on the podium in third place.
The two-time premier class champion managed to pull away from Valentino Rossi following the pit-stops, which were required after warm-up had been held in the wet, with the actual race – cut from 25 laps to 20 – started in the dry.
Michelin's decision to withdraw both planned rear compounds after an incident involving Scott Redding added to the intrigue and Marquez hailed his triumph as a special win.
“I'm really happy with the first victory of the year because we worked really hard during this pre-season, in the Qatar race and here and it was a special Sunday with the change in tyres and conditions,” he said.
“When we heard the race would be like Australia, everybody inside the box was laughing because of the mistake that we did [failed to pit in 2013].
“It is the first victory of the year and after Australia it was important for my team. If they say that you will lead the championship when we are in Malaysia I would say you are crazy, but we worked hard and we always believed and Honda is working really good. We are working in the same way and this is most important,” he added.
“Here, we know that this circuit can be good for us and at the start of the race with the first bike I tried to manage the rhythm of the race because I didn't feel good with it.
“On the second bike I could push and I gave 100 per cent and did my fastest lap and was able to open the gap.”
On his tussle with Rossi - who Marquez famously clashed with in last year's race - prior to the pit stop, the Spaniard said it had been a 'nice battle'.
“It was a good battle and I was just trying to concentrate on the rhythm but we were riding quite fast and the track was a little bit dangerous with the wet parts,” he said. “He overtook me some times and I overtook him, so it was a very nice battle.”
With Austin in Texas next up next weekend, Marquez has a superb chance to bolster his championship position at a circuit where he has won three times in a row.
“It is a circuit that a like and USA is something special for me. We will see, but of course we will try to do a great job and try to work hard from Friday,” he said.
“The important thing for us is to try to be there in the top and on the podium and to be in the championship.”