16 July 2016
MotoGP Germany: Marquez: Valentino is not far
Despite taking his seventh straight pole position at the Sachsenring, Marc Marquez claims he is taking nothing for granted; predicts formidable Rossi challenge.
To err on the side of caution, Marc Marquez has claimed he is taking little for granted in the wake of his seventh straight pole position at the Sachsenring and pointed toward the potential threat posed by Valentino Rossi in Sunday's 31-lap race.
Once Andrea Iannone fell at turn one in the 15-minute qualifying shootout, Marquez's pole was rarely in doubt, with his best lap of 1m 21.160s a more-than-comfortable 0.4s faster than second-placed Hector Barbera.
In spite of this and his commanding championship lead, Marquez refused to get carried away by his pace, and feels third best qualifier Valentino Rossi can muster a considerable challenge from the inside of the front row.
“Another pole position here in Sachsenring,” beamed Marquez in the qualifying press conference, who feels team-mate Dani Pedrosa's pace in free practice underlined another possible challenger.
“I'm really happy because honestly before the qualifying practice the FP4 was not one of the best feelings during the weekend, because we try many, many things on the bike and maybe we lose a little bit. But we come back with a good way on the qualifying practice.
“I did a really good lap but honestly for tomorrow - I already say yesterday, Valentino is not far. For tomorrow I have the same feeling. Valentino is not far. Maybe in one lap four tenths on the qualifying practice but for the race distance, for the race pace we are very, very similar.
“Also Dani is not far, honestly on the race pace, but he start on third position. So we will try to manage well if it's dry. If it's wet, then is a question mark for everybody.”
Saturday's dry and partially sunny conditions were a good deal warmer than the winter-like weather than greeted riders on Friday. With Sunday's forecast far from positive, Marquez feels those he experienced in FP1 and FP2 could be more suited to his bike.
“It looks like tomorrow will be colder, and colder honestly for us can be better because in hot conditions we are struggling more with the tyres. But colder can be better, but of course if arrive the rain then it's a question mark.
“It's another opponent because you need to manage well. Nobody ride in rain conditions in this circuit, but we will see. But we expect a dry race and of course if it's colder we will need to take in a few corners.”
On continuing his measured, consistent approach that has served him so well in 2016, the 23-year old added his 'minimum' ambition is to fight for a top three in the race.
“Of course a victory is a victory. In Mugello I tried until the end. In Montmeló I tried but Valentino beat me. In Assen it was a little bit different but tomorrow I will try again. We will see where we can arrive. If we cannot win it's not a big drama, but we will try to fight minimum for the podium.”
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