“No regrets”: Marc Marquez Interview - EXCLUSIVE

The full exclusive interview with six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez, as he prepares to leave Repsol Honda and join Gresini Ducati next season.

It’s late afternoon on Thursday at the Thai MotoGP in Buriram. Marc Marquez strides into the Repsol Honda hospitality with the same sense of purpose as he enters a racetrack.

After a handshake, he sits down on the opposite side of the table, leans in and nods: "Okay, let's go!"

Crash.net: Great memories for you here in 2019 Marc, when you won the race and title. You looked unstoppable. Not long after came Jerez 2020 and we all know the story since then. What did you learn about yourself as a person during those two and half years of injuries?

Marc Marquez: “As a person, what I learned is that you must enjoy the good moments. Because to have a good moment, you need to fight for it.

"The bad moments will arrive anyway, sometimes because you are unlucky, sometimes because maybe you force too much. But my career has been incredible until ‘20, after that big injury it was a nightmare and what I learned as a person is to enjoy the good moments.”

Crash.net: How close do you feel you are to the 2019 Marc Marquez now - physically and in terms of riding performance? If you got on the 2019 bike and tyres tomorrow, could you set the same lap times as before?

Marc Marquez: “It's a nice question, if I would set the same lap times.

“I think so. I mean, it's true that about the physical condition I'm very similar to ‘19 right now. Because I feel OK and although in ‘19 I did a very good season [12 wins and 18 podiums from 19 races], I was struggling with my shoulder. When I finished that season, they operated on the shoulder.

“So right now, for physical condition, I feel OK. Mental side, I'm not the same. I'm more mature but, right now, less convinced on the racetrack. Why? Because we are struggling more and in that [2019] period, I was winning nearly every weekend, or fighting for the podium. Then you have a lot of confidence in yourself.

“Now, after a difficult moment where you think you performed in a good way but the results never arrived, you don't have the same confidence. But we are working for it.” 

Crash.net: You've made your big decision for next year, moving from Repsol Honda to Gresini. What was the best advice you received and what was the key thing that made you decide ‘this is what I'm going to do’?

Marc Marquez: “The best advice was to think of yourself, only. Only think of yourself because I'm the kind of person that most of the time, I'm thinking more about the people around me, than myself.

“I prefer to see the happiness of the people around me, the team, than myself. But then the best advice was ‘think of yourself’.

“And yeah, it was a big decision especially to go out from my team. The team of my MotoGP career. The team of my life, which is the Repsol Honda team, with all the Japanese and Spanish staff we have here.

“It was difficult, but we will see if it's the good choice.”

Crash.net: How hard was it to tell Alberto Puig and your crew? Were you worried they might take it personally, that you were leaving them?

Marc Marquez: “It was difficult because I know that all of them have a lot of confidence in me and believe a lot in my skills. But for me it was a big help that Alberto, for example, is an ex-rider and he can understand the feeling.

“Then the team also understand. Of course, I didn't take a decision before speaking with all of them, even with the Japanese staff, to explore all the possibilities. And especially also to find what’s best for the project.

“Because right now what I feel is that the project needs time, to build the bike and to come back on that top level. And they will do it. They are Honda. They are the biggest brand in the world and they will do it I’m sure.

“But they need time and an athlete doesn't have a lot of time.”

Crash.net: We hear numbers like 10, 12, 15 million euros of salary that you’re giving up by leaving Honda for next year. You must have had some friends who said, ‘Marc, just take the money and do one more year!’ What was your view on that?

Marc Marquez: “Sometimes in your life, but always in my career, my main priority was the riding performance. Not the money. Money always is important. And if somebody says it isn’t, they will be lying. But sometimes you need to believe in yourself and follow what you feel.

“In my career always my main priority, even my lifestyle at home and here at the circuit, is to try to find the best to perform in the best way at the racetrack. It’s true that I have the highest salary in MotoGP but I’m happy with what I will have next year.”

Crash.net: Is it true that you will be riding for free at Gresini next year?

Marc Marquez: “No, it’s not true. I never go [into details] on that aspect because, as you know, nobody really knows what my salary is now at Honda. Nobody knows. I’ve heard many numbers, but nobody knows exactly. But next year still I will be super happy with what I have.”

Crash.net: One of the biggest surprises is that you’re going to be a satellite rider, or what used to be called a privateer. An Independent team and year-old bike. You’ve always been the number one guy at the Honda factory, leading the project with results and pushing it forward. How will you handle being in the queue at Ducati, behind four official riders?

Marc Marquez: “Of course, if you see it from the outside, it's difficult to understand the move. But it's what I said about the salary, I have a mentality and for me a winner’s mentality means being convinced about what you do. And my priority was to find the best of what I think I need right now.

“What I need right now is to have a familiar team, try to enjoy it again on the racetrack. Try to be calm. Just try to ride the bike and forget about all the other things.

“It's true that it's a satellite team, but it's also true that many riders did good results with that team. Like Bastianini, like my brother, like di Giannantonio. But before thinking about results, I need to enjoy it again on the racetrack and this is what I'm looking for.

“For that reason, I chose Gresini. For that reason, I have a one-year contract. Because in that year I need to understand many things for myself. If I enjoy it again, of course that will be the best news.

“Success in this move doesn't mean wins. It means trying to be in those top positions of course - in some races, maybe not in every race. We will see. But for me success means enjoying it again on the riding style and having again those butterflies in the stomach to ride a MotoGP bike.”


Crash.net: You’re the biggest star in MotoGP now at circuits around the world, a hero... But maybe not in Italy! Because of the Rossi thing. And there has been the booing etc.

Did you consider that at all when you were thinking about Gresini? And do you think joining Ducati might be like in F1, where sometimes the Italian fans don’t like a successful driver until he joins Ferrari, then they love him!

Marc Marquez: “I mean, when we race in Italy, of course I have more supporters in Spain! But I have many supporters in Italy also and especially here in the paddock, with all the Italians, I feel super good. And I don't have anything against anybody.

“I just follow my line and do my best. And yeah, I like the [Italian] people, they are very similar to Spanish people. I mean this is something that I never think about. I'm just looking for the best for me and I feel super good - even inside Honda there are many Italians. So this discussion was never on the table.”

Crash.net: You and Rossi are the standout riders of the modern MotoGP era. You’ve been just one title below Rossi for four years now. How much of a motivation is it to eventually match him?

Marc Marquez: “At the moment, I'm not thinking about matching that record because I'm far from my level. And I cannot approach next season like, ‘I will try to win the title’. It's already two years that I'm not winning a single race.

“So with that statistic, you cannot approach from one season to the next, ‘Now I will win the championship’. First of all, I need to build the confidence, to build the base and then from that base start to be faster and try to improve in the future.”

Crash.net: Looking at the world champions in MotoGP now, there's a clear split: Three single-time champions, four if Jorge Martin wins, and you as the only multi-time champion.

There has also been Rossi, Lorenzo and Stoner with multiple titles in recent history. Why is there this divide between the champions, where some can only reach that level once, but others do it again and again?

Marc Marquez: “Because it's super difficult to keep the pressure. If you check during the pre-season on a single day of testing, or during a practice, everybody's able to be super-fast at some time.

“But then a real champion must keep that pressure up [all the time], and always be in the correct moment. And needs to suffer. And when you suffer, you must survive, on the difficult weekends.

“It's difficult, especially to keep the pressure to be the champion in the moments when everyone’s looking to you, pointing to you. That’s why it's more difficult to keep winning.”


Crash.net: The ALL-IN documentary provided a great insight into your career. I just wanted to pick up on one aspect. Some fans were surprised by how hard you were on your team-mates, particularly Pedrosa.

But do you think it’s good to show the reality: That MotoGP is also a human battle and, for one rider to win, everyone else must lose?

Marc Marquez: “Everybody's hard with their team-mate because it's the rule: The first opponent is your team-mate. Because he’s the one that has the same tools. Then in the docu-series I explain a bit my mental games. But if you don't have the speed on the racetrack, you cannot play those mental games.

“But, for example, the Repsol Honda team, have enough capacity and enough performance to develop two different bikes. And it's what they did in that moment. Dani was doing his line [of bike development]. I was doing my line.

“Those mental games, everybody tries to do. But you must have the speed. I had of course - like everybody - some fights with my team-mates, but always a good relationship because we spent many days together and it’s always been nice.”

Crash.net: Do you enjoy the mental games?

Marc Marquez: “When you are fast, you enjoy it. When you are not fast, you don't enjoy it!”

Crash.net: Last one Marc, your MotoGP career has been a bit like a movie script. You came in as the young guy and beat all the big stars to be champion at the last round of 2013.

More wins, titles and records followed, despite the drama of 2015 and shoulder surgeries. Then disaster strikes in 2020, and you sink to rock bottom.

Now you’re walking away from everything you’ve ever known in MotoGP to start again with one of the smallest teams. Realistically, what do you hope happens next in the Marc Marquez story?

Marc Marquez: “We will see! I never sit at the table and think back on my career but it's true that it’s been a special career, because I’ve experienced all the different kinds of moments you can have. Like winning, like polemics, like injuries - a lot of injuries, a lot of hard moments.

“But for me, my career is also very similar to the life of a normal person. It will never be all roses. Sometimes you must go out of your comfort zone and try.

“I'm a person that must try. I say many times after a crash, ‘yeah, I crashed but I tried and now I will sleep well tonight’. In my career, when I will retire, I want to be able to think, ‘OK, I tried everything to do my best’.

“I don’t want to [look back] and have doubts about, for example now, whether to move or change team. No. I’ve done everything that I felt [was right] in that moment.

“I did a few mistakes, of course. And I will continue doing mistakes. But the most important thing is that when I retire, I don't have any doubts about my decisions.”

Crash.net: No regrets…

Marc Marquez: “No regrets.

“Thank you.”

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