Four-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez has provided an eye-opening insight into the stress he was under this season as he fought for the title.

Marquez, who retained the premier class crown at Valencia in Spain after finishing on the rostrum in third place, revealed he began to lose his hair due to the pressure he was under earlier in the year.

The unnerving discovery led the 24-year-old to implement big changes as he discussed the issue with his team, with Marquez identifying his lack of enjoyment in riding the Honda as one major drawback that needed to be addressed urgently.

“It has been a really tough season, many ups and downs and many difficult and good moments, but I would like to have here all my team [at the press conference], all my family and the people who helped me because they help me a lot this season,” he said.

“Especially the first part of the season was very hard. I will tell you a thing: after Montmelo I was with my hairdresser and she say, ‘what’s going on, what’s happening?’ I asked why and she said, ‘because you are losing your hair’. I thought I’m 24, it’s impossible and my father my grandfather have hair, but then I went to the doctor and he said I need to change the approach to the races because the stress inside my body was too much.

“I’m always smiling, always happy, but inside of me we are human and the tension is there. When you have such a good team around you it helps a lot and you can go out and be better and better,” he added.

“The second part of the season for me has been perfect; we controlled all the timings, all the moments and finished always on the podium, just Malaysia [was the exception].

“I changed my approach but especially I changed the feeling with the bike. We did a big change and then I got the correct feeling again and started to enjoy it again. After Le Mans, I said I was not enjoying riding the bike and we said first of all, we changed the mentality and we needed to find a way to enjoy on the bike and then we will find the results.”

Marquez was involved in 27 spills this season but still managed to secure the championship, although he admitted the large number of falls took their toll.

“Twenty-seven-and-a-half!” Marquez joked, reflecting on his near-miss in the final race at Valencia when he almost went down at Turn 1 after taking the lead.

“It means that it was not easy and I was pushing every practice; I was always all-in since FP1 and I was going out and being convinced that I was able to be fast. Of course it is something we need to change for the future and always I try to be realistic. We won and we are happy that we won, but there are a few points that we need to improve for next year.

“We worked hard in the tests and did more than 100 laps in each test. We enjoyed even though we had many crashes. It is difficult for a rider to forget about the crash and go out again the next morning and be fast again but I was able to do it because of the team. When you have such great people, everything is easier.”

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