MotoGP World Championship leader Marc Marquez says his runner-up finish in the Dutch TT at Assen 'feels like a victory'.
The Repsol Honda rider took full advantage when title rival Valentino Rossi crashed out on the lead in the wet in the re-started race, while reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo could only finish 10th on the Movistar Yamaha.
Marquez, who now leads Lorenzo by 24 points with Rossi 42 points off the top, said he adopted a measured approach to the race.
“Honestly, it feels like a victory because it was a race that you can lose a lot of points in the championship and my mentality was to just go out and try to finish the race,” he said.
“I knew that Valentino was fast in those conditions but the mentality was this one because my team say to me this morning, 'please finish the race!'
“I was pushing also but on the second lap when I saw that Valentino was pushing a lot, I say I'm not in the same level as him, but when I say that he crashed. I checked the pit wall and I read Miller +0. When Jack came past me in the last corner I was behind him one or two seconds and I tried to control the third guy, who was Pol at that time,” he added.
“This time for me the second place was enough. Today is an important race because it was the time to lose many points or gain a lot of points. This weekend we were lucky because the mentality helped us a lot to just go out and do my race, feel my bike and my limit and I was riding like this.”
Marquez felt more comfortable on the RC213V after switching to the soft rear Michelin tyre in Race 2, although he admitted he was struggling with the front.
“In the second race I was feeling a little bit better with the bike than the first one but Jack also was fast and congratulations to him because he was riding well in the wet,” he said.
“The rain tyre between one track and another change completely. In Argentina it was really good grip and we were pushing really hard, but for some reason I think it was the track rather than the tyres because also in Moto2 when they ride in a little bit wet, they were many crashes and the track was very slippery.
“Normally the Michelin tyres are very good in the rain but for some reason here the Assen track is one track where the level of the grip is high in the rain, but we were struggling – all the riders were struggling, especially with the front tyre,” Marquez added.
“On dry conditions our weak point is acceleration and for some reason we cannot use the power to the rear tyre because we have the wheelie and other things. In rain conditions we have less power so we don't lose on the acceleration but in dry conditions our weak point is still in the exit of the corners.”
Marquez raced into the lead from row two during the re-start but ran slightly wide at turn 1, allowing Rossi to take up the running.
“In the first corner I braked very late because we know that in the first laps you have to push from the beginning. Also most of the riders were with the hard rear in the first race and we were struggling a lot and it was the wrong option,” he said. “When we put the soft rear we had more grip and we were able to open earlier. I feel that I can open much more but the front tyre was an issue.”
Marquez has now finished second in the last three MotoGP races to underline his new approach to the championship this season, when the Spanish rider seems more prepared to settle for a solid points haul if a victory proves beyond him.