Marc Marquez says the threat of a ‘difficult moment’ with Johann Zarco forced him into a mistake that almost put him out of the final race of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship at Valencia.

Marquez took the lead on the Repsol Honda at the final corner but ran off the track at Turn 1 at the start of the following lap and almost came off, saving the bike on his knee before safely returning to the race.

He eventually finished on the podium in third on home soil in Spain to secure his fourth MotoGP title and his sixth world championship success, with team-mate Dani Pedrosa getting the better of Zarco to notch up his second win of the season.

Reflecting on his dramatic near-miss, Marquez said: “The easiest strategy was just to lead the race but it was so difficult to control myself because from the beginning, I start not so bad and then I saw Zarco was behind so I let him pass because I know that he will try to push.

“When I was behind him I was able to be much faster but I was losing the concentration and doing some stupid mistakes because I was not riding on my way. Then when he did a mistake I went through, but I saw that he was aggressive and for that reason I did the mistake in the first corner.

“When I passed him in the last corner, I was scared because I feel like his bike was close, so I tried to brake later to try to avoid a difficult moment,” added Marquez.

“But I pushed myself to a critical moment and when I lose the front, I say, OK I will stay with my bike and we will see where we finish! Just when I was already down, I pull up the bike. At that moment I say, OK time to finish the race, but then when I see that [Jorge] Lorenzo and Dovi [Andrea Dovizioso] did a mistake, I was disappointed because I would like that Dovi is here with us because he did an amazing season.”

With Dovizioso ruled out of the race after running into the gravel and falling off at Turn 8, Marquez briefly set about trying to reduced the deficit to race leaders Zarco and Pedrosa before finally throwing in the towel.

“At that point I say I will try to catch them again and I went down to ’31.7, but it was impossible to keep concentration, I was losing the gears, missing the corners, so I say finish the race and enjoy this night,” he said.

“But it was a mistake I did and it is something I don’t want to repeat in the future. But we finished in a good way with something special.”


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