Marquez: ‘Slipstream was crucial’, reacts to Miller calling him the favourite

Marc Marquez has played down talk of him being the favourite to win the Australian MotoGP, while also calling the slipstream from Francesco Bagnaia ‘crucial’ after ending up on the front row as a result.
Marc Marquez, Honda MotoGP Phillip Island
Marc Marquez, Honda MotoGP Phillip Island

Prior to the weekend getting started Phillip Island was seen as potentially Marquez’s best opportunity at claiming a MotoGP win since returning from his fourth right shoulder operation.

And after topping FP3, showing strong race pace in FP4 and narrowly missing out on pole position to Jorge Martin, that sentiment has only gotten stronger.

Asked about Jack Miller calling him the favourite due to his experience and success with tyre management around Phillip Island, something that’s expected to play a key role in Sunday’s Grand Prix, Marquez was quick to deny the tag of favourite by insisting that Francesco Bagnaia and others have more than enough experience.

"Tyre management will be important but Pecco [Bagnaia] also has good experience [with that], Jorge [Martin] understands very well the category and everybody knows," said Marquez. 

"If you have a fast bike on the straight it is easier to manage the tyre. At this point, at this moment, I’m not in the position to manage the tyre. 

"My target is just to start and to try and be there. If I can be there but need to use the rear tyre then I will use it. 

"It’s true that it’s the race where I feel closer to the top guys but I’m not the fastest one and if you are not the fastest one then you cannot manage the tyre. You need to give everything to follow the top guys."

After securing his first MotoGP pole in three years at Motegi, Marquez came close to making it two in three rounds as he slipstreamed his way to second place.

Ultimately missing out by just +0.013s, Marquez was directly behind Bagnaia when he set his best lap, which was also the case earlier on in the session. 


On his first run Marquez looked set to go fastest before producing a sensational ‘save’ at turn ten after losing the front-end of his RC213V machine. Marquez, who pulled off a similar ‘save’ at the same corner in 2019, was given a deserved round of applause by fans trackside. 

Talking about having Bagnaia as a reference, Marquez stated: "Of course, the reference of Pecco, the slipstream of Pecco was crucial. We thought that [without] the slipstream with the package we have at Honda now, it would be impossible to make that lap time. 

"You need to do it. I followed him, I did a good lap and for tomorrow the pace is not bad. It’s not the best one but it’s not bad. 

"I worked well and the team worked well all the weekend. Yesterday we worked for the future and today we worked for the present. We are becoming closer and closer to the top guys and this is important." 

Marquez, who debuted Honda’s version of the Ducati-like rear fairing package on Friday, was seen without the ‘Stegosaurus’ wings throughout Saturday, as focusing on the set-up and not testing parts was the main objective due to the eight-time world champion feeling like he has a shot to challenge at the front.

Marquez said: "Yesterday I started with the Thailand bike and I just tried the fairings. A different aerodynamic package. 

"Then today we don’t try anymore the aero package. Still we have some things to try but we decided to stop a bit on that point because yesterday I felt competitive and I asked Honda to allow me to work on just the set-up because I believe that if we work on the set-up that we can be close to the top guys."

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