Marc Marquez says he has no friends in MotoGP once he pulls his helmet on, even though this year’s championship battle with chief rival Andrea Dovizioso was characterised by mutual respect and good sportsmanship.

Marquez won the premier class crown for the fourth time at Valencia in Spain as the title race went down to the wire, but while the Spaniard admits he has a lot of time for Dovizioso, he believes there is no room for sentiment on the track.

“You see with Dovi, we have a really good relationship and he is a really good guy, but when we were on the track the fights were there – in Austria, Motegi, and during the races – this is normal,” he said.

“We respect each other and we have a good relationship, but when you are in the track you are fighting for what you want and everybody wants to be the top.

“Some riders accept better, some worse – it’s different characters also – but I understand this is racing and with the helmet on you have no friends. When you are outside the track you can have friends but inside the track, you are pushing for your goal.”

Marquez brushed aside suggestions that he allowed the pressure of the final race to get to him on Sunday more than on previous occasions, saying he felt everything was ‘under control’ until he made a mistake at Turn 1, almost sliding off as he attempted to put some daylight between himself and Johann Zarco after taking the lead.

“I was not very stressed because from the warm-up, everything was under control and honestly if not, I would say. I was relaxed and convinced that everything would go well, but the problem was that during the race I was so comfortable behind Johann that I was losing the concentration a little bit because I was able to ride much faster,” said Marquez.

“Sometimes it happens because when you ride too slow, it’s so difficult, so maybe the way was to lead the race and push until the end, but when I tried to push it was because I was scared about Johann. I tried to push too much to try to open a small gap because I know that he wants to try [a pass], and for that reason it was a mistake. Apart from that, I think the race was under control and I was doing a really good race.”

Asked to give himself a mark out of ten for his performance in the final race on Sunday, Marquez added: “Nine – I was able to go out, close the gas, be fifth and finish the race easy, but it is not my style and it will never be my style.”

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