Marc Marquez lost the MotoGP world championship lead to Jorge Lorenzo at Le Mans, when a fall for the Honda rider was combined with victory for the defending champion.
Marquez had dropped from second to fourth on the opening lap, rose to third when Andrea Iannone crashed, then lost the position to Valentino Rossi.
Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso and Marquez were then running in close formation - behind runaway leader Lorenzo - when the Ducati rider and Marquez fell at almost exactly the same moment, on lap 16 of 28 (pictured).
“I realised [Dovizioso] had crashed when I was already in the gravel. So it was not related. But yeah, was interesting because both of us lost the front at a really similar time,” Marquez confirmed.
“Honestly I was doing a great race because we had a lot of problems this weekend, but I was there close to the podium. That was the main target and the best result for today.
“But suddenly in Turn 5, I go in and I lost the front. Disappointed yes, but this happens when you lose a lot in acceleration. You need to recover on the brake points and riding like this during 28 laps it is easy to have this mistake. Because on the brake point is no control, only your finger and your feeling on the bike.
“Also I chose the hard front tyre, that for me was a good option. Because, ok, was more critical but was the only way to turn the bike. Because with the soft one, with the riding style of Honda, was impossible to finish the race.”
The Honda has been lacking acceleration, for different reasons, since the start of last season.
“The problem is that we are losing a lot. But if we improve the acceleration we have one of the best bikes,” Marquez explained. “It's hard because on the straight the time is 'free'. It is really difficult for your mentality when you see on the straight you cannot follow them [smiles].
“But I know that Honda is working hard. I believe in Honda. So it is for nothing now to complain and complain.
“The important thing is that we know where we need to improve. But on the other hand, it is difficult to improve in the middle of the season, because the engines are closed for everybody.”
In times of a timeframe for possible progress, Marquez said: “We will have this minimum next two races and we will try to get our 100 percent... After Montmelo we have a test on Monday that - I didn't speak with Honda, but I expect something.
“We know that they are working hard to try to improve this acceleration. Especially the wheelie because the power is there, but we cannot use. So we need to understand well what happened.”
Asked to compare the MotoGP machines in terms of acceleration, the double world champion replied: “For me, if we make a ranking in acceleration it would be: Ducati, Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda. Ducati we are losing a lot, Yamaha less, Suzuki less, then us.”
“Now just we need to concentrate, to focus on Mugello and Montmelo that are different tracks than Jerez and Le Mans. More corner speed. Two years ago I would say that will be worse, but now maybe it can be better for us...”
Marquez, who remounted to finish 13th and last, was one of eight riders to fall.
Team-mate Dani Pedrosa was the only RC213V rider to complete the race unscathed, while all three of the title favourites - Lorenzo, Marquez and Rossi - have now crashed in one of the five races this season.
That stat led Lorenzo to declare that the championship 'starts from zero'.
“I would like to be in front,” responded Marquez with a smile. “Honestly, I know that I was doing - already in Jerez it was really difficult to finish the race there. But if you want to win the championship you need to manage the race, but try to push.
“Today I saw Jorge go, then Valentino passed me - I didn't try to overtake him again because I know where was my position. But was not possible to finish the race in a good way.
“It is true that we crash, but the positive thing is that we are only five points behind Jorge. We know that looks like both Yamaha riders are stronger than us, but anyway we will try to keep like this and let's see how we can manage.”
Marquez and Lorenzo have both won two races this season, with Rossi - now just seven points from Marquez = claiming the other victory.
By Peter McLaren