Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez believes the added competition between Ducati riders Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso has given both riders an extra edge in 2018.

Lorenzo clinched his maiden victory on the Ducati at Mugello and followed up with victories in Barcelona and Austria, while Dovizioso has won in Qatar, Czech Republic and last time out at Misano, where Lorenzo crashed out of the runner-up.

Marquez, who leads Dovizioso by 67 points and will potentially have the opportunity to mathematically secure the premier class title at the next round in Thailand, said he feels Dovizioso will be his main rival this weekend – but only just.

“So difficult to answer; now I would say Andrea because he is closer in the championship, but on the split side both of them are very, very fast.

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“Andrew was faster than Jorge in Misano but Jorge was faster in the last part of the race, so it is difficult to say. They are very equal and this is what makes both of them very fast because they want to be the best rider in the team and this competition makes everything faster for them.”

Marquez was gifted second place by Lorenzo’s error at Misano and he is now aiming to tighten his grip on the championship further at Aragon, where Turn 10 has been named in his honour.

“It was a great weekend for us in Misano because we finished second, so 20 points. Then we had a good test there on Monday and now today we started in a good way with the Aragon GP – one of my favourite circuits – with a corner in my name, so I have respect for these kind of things,” he said.

“It will be a good feeling when you pass there, but okay, time to forget and concentrate on the race weekend because it’s just another weekend, of course a home GP and I like the circuit, but step by step we will see what is our level.”

The reigning champion is on a red-hot run of form and has notched up his six successive podiums – his best return since 2014.

Asked what has been the biggest change since his title triumph in 2014, Marquez said: “Experience, myself and the team – everything. Of course we have a great season at the moment so far but we have to continue like this, don’t be brash, just quiet, try to keep the same style and of course here it would be nice to win on Sunday, but like every Sunday, if it is not possible, try to finish on the podium.

“We will see: Ducati and Yamaha did a test here so they will start with a good base, but we will work hard to be competitive on Sunday, but the main target is to finish on the podium.”

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