Having spent much of the season battling the Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez found himself fighting the Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Johann Zarco during Sunday's Malaysian MotoGP.

Marquez was placed between the M1s for the majority of the 20 laps, until Rossi handed victory to the Repsol Honda star when he fell with four laps to go.

Movistar Yamaha riders Rossi and Maverick Vinales have complained of acceleration problems this season, as the factory endured it's longest ever MotoGP win drought.

However Marquez felt Yamaha had made a clear step from Thailand - Vinales later winning at Phillip Island - and were 'the strongest' manufacturer at Sepang, with 'amazing' acceleration.

"This weekend Yamaha was extremely fast," Marquez said. "My bike was pumping [up and down] and struggling with the grip and when I was riding behind Johann, but also especially Valentino, they had amazing acceleration. Amazing grip.

"Here was one of the circuits where the tyres didn't drop and Yamaha, it looks like they have improved a lot. I don't know if it's electronics or acceleration, but now they are able to brake hard and especially have a very good acceleration on the pick-up [corner exit] area. So that makes the difference.

"Normally we fight against Ducati, but this time Yamaha was the strongest and I'm proud because again we were there at a circuit where we've struggled in the past.

"Now we'll try and finish the season in a good way and work very hard for the next one because, like we saw, it looked like Yamaha was not so good before and now suddenly since Thailand they are really strong.

"Yes, we won the [riders'] championship, we won the constructors', we are close to the teams' championship, the triple crown, perfect season. But it's not enough. We need to work hard this winter because the competitors are getting closer and closer. Even sometimes better."

Vinales and then Rossi recently made bike-balance changes to help get more performance from the rear Michelins and, while engine modifications cannot be introduced until 2019, there are thought to have been some electronic upgrades to help acceleration.

Despite Marquez's comments, the results show that he has now won nine races this season, his highest tally since 2014.

"The best bike was 2014. I was feeling even better," Marquez confirmed, adding:

"2014 was another way to dominate. I mean, I remember here in 2014 I just was waiting behind and then I overtook and went on to win. It was another kind of racing and the level was different.

"This year I dominated the championship, but I struggled. I was in the podium in [nearly] all the races that I finished and the points gap is big, but I didn't dominate with the distance like in 2014.

"I've crashed I don’t know how many times this year. I don’t think about the crashing, but if you crash then it's because you are pushing and you are struggling.

"When you save maybe ten crashes this weekend by the elbows, it's because you are pushing.

"But the most important is that we achieved our target for this year, which was to try to be consistent in all the tracks."

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