Marc Marquez says he will approach the Australian round of the MotoGP World Championship with much different mindset after he slid out of the lead of the race in 2016.

The Repsol Honda rider had already clinched his third premier class title at Motegi last year when he arrived in Australia, but one year on he is locked in battle with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, who closed the gap at the top to 11 points with victory in the wet in Japan.

“We are in a very important moment and of course Motegi has been a very great weekend, great last laps, and we lost only five points, and this was important too,” Marquez said.

“Here in Phillip Island is normally a track that I enjoy more than Motegi, we will see how is the result, how is the level, but like always I will try to be in the top from FP1, try to work well for the race, and then we will see because also the weather is something interesting here in Australia.

“I’ve had some ups and downs, especially in 2014 and in 2016 I crashed leading the race already with a few seconds advantage. When I won in Motegi I crashed here, so this time I finished second and we are fighting for the championship, so of course the approach is much different than last year,” he added.

“We will try to compensate our level with the risk because it is important to manage well, and we will see after qualifying practice if we can fight for the victory.”

Marquez is clear that Dovizioso is his biggest rival over the final three rounds of the championship, but he stopped short of completely dismissing the chances of Maverick Vinales, who lost more ground after finishing ninth at Motegi.

Vinales is now 41 points behind and Marquez said: “Dovi of course is the more dangerous one but still I am looking at Vinales because he is far, but not far enough. We need to control Dovi a little bit more but in the end the strategy is the same one, push, and if we can take one more point then like we will try like in Motegi until the last corner.”

The defending champion has come out second best against Dovizioso twice during last-lap showdowns this season in Austria and again at Motegi, but Marquez says he has learned from both defeats at the hands of his chief title rival.

“Of course you learn and try to improve, for example in the way you are riding in the last lap. In Austria I arrive on the limit and I knew it was very difficult, but anyway I tried,” he said.

“In Motegi I realised that he was stronger than me in the brake points and on the last lap I was pushing to arrive in the last part of the circuit, but unfortunately I did a small mistake at turn 8 and I lose all of the small advantage.

“Always against Ducati riders it is very difficult because they are braking very late and they are accelerating hard, but we will try to manage in a different way in the future.”


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