Marc Marquez says he opted to give up fighting for victory at the Dutch MotoGP to maximise his advantage in the championship, while picking the soft rear tyre to steer clear of his direct title rivals at Assen.

The Repsol Honda rider claimed second place in the Netherlands behind Monster Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales to see his lead in the MotoGP riders’ standings swell to 44 points over nearest rival Andrea Dovizioso who could only manage fourth place.

Marquez, part of the three-rider group battling for the lead during the opening two-thirds of the race, says once he felt a podium place was secured he didn’t risk fighting Vinales for the win given the Yamaha rider’s position in the championship with his closest rivals off the pace.

“Today I went into the race and I knew I was not ready to fight for the victory but then you need to change the strategy and forget about the victory and find the best way,” Marquez admitted. “The best way for me today was to choose the soft rear because I knew for at least 15 laps I was able to be there, then I could see what would happen in the end but with the hard I was struggling all race.

“When I saw that Maverick was extremely fast today, I was there following him for two laps with a lot of risk and I understood. I said yesterday Quartararo was 89 points behind us and Maverick is 100 so that is something I had in my mind.”

With one eye firmly on the MotoGP world title picture, Marquez says he risked opting for the soft Michelin rear tyre as he knew he could match the front-running pace of Vinales andFabio Quartararo before dropping off over the final 10 laps.

The reigning MotoGP world champion was confident of building a big enough gap over his major title threats at a circuit he expected to struggle at before aiming to hold on to a podium place.

“I choose the soft as my strategy was to get away with both Yamahas but I never had in my mind to lead the race as when you lead you use more of the tyre,” he said. “My target was to be with the Yamaha riders until Lap 15 and I knew I could stay with them.

“I knew over the last laps I would suffer. Then you know you are 15 laps in with a good pace and you will survive the last 10 laps but with the hard was risking it by staying with Dovizioso, Morbidelli and be on the slower pace. This was the target. I never thought about getting away because I was not ready.”

Marquez maintains his stunning record in 2019 of finishing every race in the top two positions, apart from at the Americas MotoGP when he crashed while leading due to a technical issue with his Repsol Honda.

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