'It's good that the championship is already in the pocket, because if not we would be in trouble!'
Those were the words of newly crowned triple MotoGP champion Marc Marquez after falling from his Repsol Honda for the second race in a row.
One week earlier at Phillip Island, Marquez had crashed out of the lead after losing control under braking, an incident he labelled as 'completely my mistake'.
The Spaniard was less sure about what went wrong at a wet Sepang, where he slid from his RC213V while in the midst of a five-rider victory battle on lap 12 of 19.
"Today was a completely different mistake compared to Phillip Island, because I was trying to be more quiet on the bike, try to do a normal race," Marquez began. "I was there waiting, but the problem is that we were losing too much on acceleration on the two big straights during all weekend.
"In the race I expected this a little bit, but we were able to be there in the front group. So I was able to stay there, try to manage and I was waiting to push in the end. But I did a small mistake - or looks like I did a mistake because I crashed. But I don't feel anything strange. I did the same line and everything the same, but okay I crashed."
Marquez caused something of a stir by using carbon, rather than steel, brake discs despite the wet conditions. Was it the reason for his fall?
"No. I crashed without touching the brakes. I was just turning with the gas and then I lose the front. The carbon disc at the beginning of the race was on the limit, so I was careful. But with less water it got better and better and especially in the last part of the race it was very good."
The #93 added that he had chosen the carbon brakes to try and compensate for the lack of acceleration.
"I never use carbon discs in the wet so I was trying to decide. The team said 'it's raining a lot, too much water on the track, go with the standard discs in the wet'. But the bike was ready to go out and I looked at Santi [crew chief] and said 'I want carbon'. Because in the end I need to take the final decision and for me it was the best for the race.
"I choose carbon because I already knew I would lose on acceleration. Then with the carbon disc I was able to gain something on the brake point. Because if you lose on the acceleration and on the brake point you cannot gain anywhere and you don't have possibilities. So the main reason was this. Try to push on the brake points and it was the correct decision."
Marquez fell on the same lap as fellow Honda rider Cal Crutchlow - and one lap before Ducati's Andrea Iannone - with whom he had been exchanging fourth place.
"No contact [during the battle with Crutchlow] - although on the first or second lap somebody hit me, I don't know who!" smiled Marquez. "In rain conditions it is always very, very difficult to overtake. But it was a nice battle with Cal. First he overtook me, he was pushing, then I overtook him because I saw that I was faster. It's always nice to fight with a rider on the same bike because you have the same problems and same advantages!"
Those problems included overheating the front tyre due to their attempts to make up time on the brakes.
"Exactly the same. Same bike, same problem!" said Marquez. "Here we were losing a lot in acceleration so you need to push a lot in the brake points. And I was also pushing in the middle of the corner... We will improve next year!"
Marquez rejoined the race after his accident and was able to recover from 15th to 11th.
"I thought 'we need to finish the race for the team' and I tried to come back with a [damaged] bike and I was getting faster and faster. P11 is of course not good, but after the crash to be 36 behinds the leader not so bad."
Even without the accident, Marquez admitted it would have been difficult to beat race winner Andrea Dovizioso and that second was probably the best he could have done.
"For me, after looking at the rhythm and everything, I think Dovi was faster than us," he said. "Maybe if you are there, Valentino would push, but I think second or third place - on the podium - was possible, but in the end I crashed.
"With Dovi I have a good relationship and he deserves to win. He is a really important rider for Ducati, for improving their bike. He has worked very hard for them. We already said in the press conference, 'who will be the next winner?' Now maybe in Valencia, it will be Espargaro."
"It could be Aleix or Pol. It would be nice to have a tenth winner… Actually no, I want to win in Valencia!" Marquez grinned.
While Marquez has already secured the riders' title, Honda also heads to Valencia with a 21-point lead over Yamaha in the constructors' championship - but is ten points behind Movistar Yamaha in the teams' standings.
By Peter McLaren