Marquez: “Perfect race, still far” | Mir: “First exit important” on 2024 bike

Marc Marquez may have finished 13 seconds behind Misano MotoGP winner Jorge Martin, but he was still 21.7s faster than the next-best Honda for his best Sunday result of the year.
Marc Marquez, MotoGP race, San Marino MotoGP, 10 September
Marc Marquez, MotoGP race, San Marino MotoGP, 10 September

All four remaining RCVs (stand-in Takumi Takahashi didn’t qualify) opted to gamble on the soft rear tyre, the only riders not to use the medium.

But while Stefan Bradl and Takaaki Nakagami finished last and second-last respectively, and Joan Mir crashed from 19th, Marquez wrestled his Repsol Honda to the flag in seventh place.

“Yes, [the tyre gamble] worked, until the last 10 laps where the soft rear started to drop more than the medium. But it was the perfect strategy. Honestly speaking I feel like I did a perfect race,” said Marquez, who held sixth during the middle stages, lost one place to Miguel Oliveira, then ducked a last lap attack from Luca Marini.

Remote video URL

“We are still far. We still finished 13 seconds behind the top guys. But I took the maximum, I attack when I need to attack. I suffered and I was able to suffer in a good way, and I defended in the last laps, because a big group was coming.

“We chose the rear soft option because we need to understand why we can't use the medium. With the medium we are losing a lot of performance, especially on the entry. And then if you lose the performance on the entry, you lose it on the exit.

“But it's there where the other manufacturers are super fast with the medium tyres in the last races, and we can't. We use the soft. I used the soft in Austria, I used the soft on Montmeló, I used the soft today.

“With the soft you need to play a lot with your body to get the traction in the end, and use all your physical condition. But today I suffered also on the physical side, but not because I'm not fit, because the bike asks a lot from me to try to manage all those movements.”

The physical toll meant Marquez suffered arm pump in “both arms! But not only arm pump, it was all the body. It was like when you feel on the limit of your body.

“I used a lot of energy catching Viñales, because I said, ‘I will catch him, and then I will stay with him until the end of the race with the slipstream’. But when I caught him I was destroyed. Even Oliveira overtook me and it was impossible to follow him.”


Joan Mir: First exit on 2024 Honda ‘the most important’

All eyes are now on Monday’s post-race test, where Marquez and Mir will get their first taste of the 2024 prototype, which test rider Stefan Bradl used (albeit with the 2023 engine) as a wild-card this weekend.

Mir, who hasn’t scored points since the Portimao opener, made clear he wants to feel an instant difference.

“Honestly the first impression on the first exit will be the most important,” said the 2020 world champion. “Because if we try a new concept of bike that they say is completely different, and we cannot [feel] something on the first exit…

“I would like to see something different, a bike that probably requires a different style. A huge more potential in some areas.

“Honestly, what I want is this. I don’t want small changes. I prefer one big change that helps one area [even if it] makes worse the others, than small steps in every area.

“[For example] if we get more grip but lose turning, I would agree.”

Asked about Mir’s words, Marquez responded:

“What you are looking for in a test is more performance. For me, it doesn't matter the way to do the lap time, I just want to be faster.

“I evaluate all the things I try by the performance. And it's what I will do tomorrow.

“Bradl was using the bike this weekend. Looks a bit different, the way to ride it. But the performance with him was not a big difference.

“But let's see, I want to wait, I don't want to be infected by the comments of other riders, I just want to try the bike, clean mentality, and try to give the best comments to the engineers.”

Marc Marquez, MotoGP, San Marino MotoGP, 9 September
Marc Marquez, MotoGP, San Marino MotoGP, 9 September

Marc Marquez future: I want to see a reaction 

Since releasing a Spanish football-transfer-themed ‘things are happening’ video on social media at the start of the weekend, Marquez has continued to tease the media over his 2024 plans.

But does he find all of the questions about his future fun or boring?

“It’s not bad. It’s part of your job and on Thursday in fact I threw [fuel] onto the fire a little!" he admitted.

“I have the capacity that all this doesn’t affect me on the track. When you are 20 years old then maybe it can throw you, but I could still focus on the weekend.

“When I have pressure or this extra attention I can give more. This was the best weekend of the year! No crashes and I was competitive, with what we have, 7th and our best Sunday [of the year].

“So it didn’t affect me but I am also keen to decide and to leave everything settled soon.”

"Rght now I want to see a reaction and facts."

The latest rumours suggest that Marquez is likely to stay and serve the final year of his current Honda contract in 2024, albeit with cast iron assurances over a revamp of the struggling RCV project, including the signing of key staff from rival teams.

After all, if Marquez really does intend to rip up his contract and sensationally walk out early to ride alongside his brother at a satellite team, would the jokey off-the-cuff Thursday video really be the way he would choose to signal the end of a record-breaking eleven-year MotoGP partnership with Honda? 

But until the Gresini Ducati seat is filled, or Marquez puts his 2024 cards on the table with an unambiguous answer, anything is possible...

Read More