23 May 2016
MotoGP Italy: Marquez: We're right in the hunt for title
'We are there in the championship and 10 points are not a big difference. Of course I would like to be in front but we are there' - Marc Marquez.
Marc Marquez said he remains right in the hunt for the MotoGP World Championship after a narrow defeat at the hands of Jorge Lorenzo in a red-hot race at Mugello.
Marquez led onto the final straight but was outgunned by Lorenzo's Yamaha M1 on the blast to the line, losing out by 0.019 seconds.
Lorenzo extended his lead at the top to 10 points over Marquez ahead of the seventh round of the championship at Catalunya on June 5, but the Honda rider says he remains firmly in the title mix.
“Today, I feel what it is like to lose the race in the last 50 metres, because all my career I never felt,” said Marquez.
“I did a really good race because this one of the circuits where always I struggle more. I'm happy because we finished second and really close to the victory. We did a great last lap and honestly I forgot the championship and I say 'attack'.
“I feel like this but like always we are losing a little bit in acceleration and when I arrived in the last corner, I tried to close but also to prepare my exit because I know that Lorenzo is able to overtake me before the finish line,” he added.
“During all the race I was in his slipstream and I never catch him completely. I could catch him on the last lap because he did a mistake with the gear on the first corner, but I tried to be there and I think it was a great show for all the fans,” Marquez added.
“We are there in the championship and 10 points are not a big difference. Of course I would like to be in front but we are there.”
Marquez admits he was left feeling frustrated after losing out on the dash to the line as acceleration continues to be the Honda's Achilles heal in 2016, but the 23-year-old remains confident HRC will make significant improvements soon.
“You feel frustrated but already when I arrive in parc ferme [Shuhei] Nakamoto and all the Honda staff thank me for the race because they know that we are struggling,” he said.
“We are working 100 per-cent to try to improve and I cannot say nothing because I know they are working really hard, but yes – I did a really good last lap and normally always face to face with another rider I am strong.
“But this time I lose on the straight, it never happened [before] and the only time it happened was here and also in Qatar. But in the end we know that it is our weak point at the moment but we will improve on the future,” he added.
“I'm happy because before the race if you say to me, 'you will finish second and lose only five points', I will say, 'where do I need to sign?'”
Marquez conceded that Valentino Rossi had been unlucky to retire from the race while lying second with an engine failure, but said it was imperative to capitalise on any opportunities that may arise.
“Of course Valentino was unlucky but in the end you must take profit about this because you never know what will happen in the future, if this luck will come back to him or not,” said Marquez, who said he muted his celebrations on the podium in front of Rossi's partisan fans.
“The reaction of course was not the best one and for that reason I don't celebrate a lot on the podium because I don't like this, but in the end – okay, all the circuit was yellow, this is true – but I think all the circuit enjoyed the last lap and the show and this is the most important.”
Marquez reflected on his near-miss when Lorenzo's Yamaha slowed suddenly on the straight while he was tucked into his slipstream, causing him to catch his elbow protection as the pair touched.
“Always I was struggling on the slipstream and suddenly I saw that Lorenzo's bike stop and I didn't know what happened,” he said.
“The bit that you see [coming off] was my elbow protection that went out, but I was planning to attack on the first corner already and this created a little bit of confusion.
“Then, after this, everything was normal but yes from the back it was scary but lucky that we don't crash because I crashed already one time there and it was hard.”
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