26 September 2016
MotoGP Aragon: Marquez: I had to stop Rossi
'Valentino... was catching me step by step and it was important to stop [him] because if not, his mentality is going up, up, up' - Marc Marquez.
Marc Marquez emphasised the importance of stopping MotoGP title rival Valentino Rossi from clawing back more points as the Repsol Honda rider won in dominant style at Aragon.
Marquez backed up his form in practice and qualifying to clinch his first premier class success since his Sachsenring win in Germany in July, ending a sequence of races during which Rossi chipped away at his championship advantage.
However, the 23-year-old is now 52 points clear after extending his lead by nine points as Rossi was forced to settle for third in Spain behind his Movistar Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.
With four races to go, Marquez is firmly in the title driving seat and he hailed his triumph at Aragon – his first at the circuit since 2013 – as an important step towards his third MotoGP crown.
“It was important, this victory. It was important because since Germany, but especially Austria, if it was a dry race we cannot win again. The second point is that it was important because the second rider, in this case Valentino, was catching me step by step and it was important to stop [him]. If not, his mentality is going up, up, up and we start to have some doubts, but after this victory I feel again good with the bike,” said Marquez.
“I was waiting [for] this race because on the calendar it was a race to win and attack and everything went to plan. It's a nice advantage but like we see today, we must be very concentrated because to crash is really easy.
“Now we go to the Asian tour and this is one of the most difficult points of the season because it's three races in a row, but we need to keep the same mentality, the same concentration, because we know that at some circuits we will struggle more, some less, but we need to be like now: keep calm and try to finish all the races.”
Marquez had to fight his way through from fifth place after a huge moment saw him drop four positions when he lost the front at Turn 7 as he led on lap three.
“After warm-up it looked like everything was under control but braking and this year especially, every time you go out on track the feeling can change. I got out and worked hard to try to have the same feeling like in the practice and I tried to push, to lead the race to open a gap, but I had a big moment on Turn 7,” he said.
“I was already on the floor but I don't know why I saved the crash and after that I say, 'okay, quiet'. Step by step I gained positions, I gained time against Valentino and when I caught him, I just relaxed on one lap and then when I overtook, I attacked and I was able to open a gap – enough to win the race.”
His cushion at the top of the standings is a significant lead with only four races to go, but Marquez has shrugged off suggestions he could wrap up the title at Honda's home circuit at Motegi in Japan, which kicks off a run of three flyway races in October.
“In Japan I will not win the championship. I would like because it is Honda's home circuit, but I don't think so. We must wait, we need to be patient and we cannot make any mistakes. It's not important where, it's important to win. We must keep the same mentality and we know that Japan will be one circuit that maybe we will struggle more but we will arrive in other tracks that will be better for us.
“We will see but of course Phillip Island, Valencia are good circuits for me but also Motegi last year, I was strong in dry conditions – in wet it is different,” Marquez added.
“Malaysia, we will see how we can manage but we need to keep the same mentality: if we arrive on Sunday in a circuit where I cannot win, it's not a problem, we must wait.”
Marquez made a hard move on Lorenzo on the opening lap at Turn 15 and was seen to make an apologetic hand gesture on the straight, which he confirmed afterwards in the post-race press conference.
“It was the first lap and it was the first overtake in Turn 15, that was a strong point for me. I didn't calculate well and it was a little bit too tight… but fortunately nothing happened.”
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