Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez says Valentino Rossi had no option other than to push to the limit, after the Italian rider blew his slim chances of the 2016 MotoGP title at Motegi.
Rossi was chasing race leader Marquez when he lost the front of his Movistar Yamaha at Turn 10, sliding into the gravel to finally end any fading hopes of a 10th world crown this season.
Marquez, who led Rossi by 52 points heading into the Japanese Grand Prix, went on to seal the championship with three rounds still remaining after Jorge Lorenzo also crashed out of second place five laps from the finish.
The three-time MotoGP World Champion agrees that Rossi was forced into a mistake as he tried desperately to keep his hopes alive.
“It was something difficult to think that both riders would make a mistake in the race, but maybe Valentino was trying to catch me and I was pushing,” Marquez said.
“Valentino I think did the right strategy: it was like me last year; if you want to have more chance, a small chance to the win the title, you need to win races, so he was pushing at the limit to catch me.”
Marquez, meanwhile, feels he reached a turning point with the front Michelin tyre at Catalunya after gaining a new insight when he followed Rossi for 'many laps' in the race.
“It is difficult to understand because the problem is that at every race, you feel a little bit different. I started to understand maybe after Montmelo,” he said.
“I saw a few things behind Valentino in that race, it was the first race that I follow Valentino many laps and he knows a lot the Michelin tyres because he rides them many years. I saw a few things and I say, okay I will try to improve.
“Then the next race [at Assen] was in wet conditions but I start to understand the front tyre and now I start to use in a different way. But it is difficult because every circuit is different.”
Marquez revealed Honda also made significant gains with the electronics following the Czech round of the championship at Brno.
“One big step that I know next year we will not use is the big wings. The big wings were something I was pushing for, to try to find a good wing because I think we can reduce the problems with acceleration with the wheelie. Since Brno they gave these big wings to me to try and we started going better and better,” said Marquez.
“Especially in the Monday test at Brno we improved the acceleration and also Dani [Pedrosa] did a big step.”
After a meeting of the Grand Prix Commission [Dorna, FIM, IRTA and MSMA] earlier this season at Assen it was confirmed that MotoGP would ban the use of aerodynamic wings from 2017.