MotoGP leader Marc Marquez is expecting Repsol Honda to pose a greater threat for Ducati in front of its home supporters at the Italian MotoGP in Mugello despite struggling in recent years.

The five-time MotoGP World Champion has an indifferent record at the high-speed Mugello circuit, winning only once in the premier class back in 2014, while he hasn’t stood on the podium since 2016.

By contrast, rivals Ducati have enjoyed great success at their local track, with Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo notching up wins in 2017 and 2018 respectively, a run of form rivals are tipping the Borgo Panigale-based manufacturer to repeat again in 2019.

However, Marquez – who comes into the weekend eight points clear of Dovizioso at the top of the MotoGP standings – is keen to point out the reason why the Repsol Honda has been on the back foot previous years, namely front tyre management, is a substantial improvement on the new RC213V.

“In 2017 and 2018 I was struggling a lot to manage the front tyre, but this year the allocation has changed so it should be a lot better," he said. "Plus, we are able to manage them in a different way, so we will try to be competitive from the beginning and then analyse the opponents.

“From Qatar until Le Mans we keep improving, so we arrive at Mugello with a very good feeling. The way to ride the bike now, I feel good. We know Mugello is one of the tracks where we have struggled at in the past but we have had very good races too. Last year we had good pace, but we crashed in the race.”

“We know here is important for Ducati and for the Italian riders, they will like to win the race… it’s an important thing for them.”

 

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