Marc Marquez felt he made the dream start to his Malaysian MotoGP but concedes Maverick Vinales had the stronger pace to charge to victory at Sepang.

The eight-time world champion produce a stunning opening lap to go from 11th on the grid, having crashed during qualifying, to briefly reach second place before dropping back behind Jack Miller.

Two laps stuck behind the Pramac Ducati rider proved costly as Vinales pulled out a one-second advantage before Marquez regained second place, which gave the Monster Yamaha rider the opportunity to bolt clear and avoid a repeat of their last-lap showdown from Phillip Island.

With Marquez settling for second place, accepting Vinales had the better race pace for a second straight weekend, the reigning MotoGP world champion was still content with his result to maintain his historic campaign. Marquez now holds the all-time points record for a single season (395) and has also notched up the most podiums (17) in one campaign – all with one race to go at Valencia.

“The first lap was incredible and not only me but Dovi, he did an incredible start and was like a rocket from the left of the grid,” Marquez said. “In the first corner I did a good move there and then I was just pushing.

“I was looking for Vinales because I knew he had the best pace and I knew if I could catch him I would be with him like in Phillip Island but then in two laps I lost too much time with Jack and then he opened that one second gap. I tried but he was faster.

“When he is faster it is impossible to reduce the gap. Today he was the fastest guy on the track. Today I said okay I did the most difficult part and now I need to finish the race. I was pushing and in parts of the race I was catching him but then I did a big mistake in Turn 7-8 as I went off track and came back in.

“Apart from that I am happy, it is true it is another time that it is our worst result of the year in second place but we started from 11th and normally we struggle here a lot but we achieved again.”

With temperatures higher compared to Saturday, Marquez had doubts over his rear tyre pick for the race having opted for the soft compound while the majority of his rivals opted for the medium.

Marquez revealed he left the decision to Repsol Honda technical manager Takeo Yokoyama having prioritised the teams’ world championship after already sealing both the riders’ and constructors’ world titles this season.

“I was looking at the medium rear but all the team believed more in the soft,” he explained. “We were fighting, me against the team, but I was pushing for the medium but said okay we will do one thing.

“The riders’ championship is done, the constructors’ championship is done and the teams’ championship is not done so you take the decision. They took the decision and I said it is your mistake. I said to Takeo [Yokoyama] you will do the mistake!

“In the end we don’t know about the medium but it was the correct choice as we achieved our goal that was second place.”

The 26-year-old also ran out of fuel on the cooldown lap for the third time this season – having suffered the same fate at Silverstone and Motegi – but played down the problem as he didn’t have to manage his fuel consumption during the race at Sepang.

“It was not a problem. Here I could ride like I wanted but the problem was in the last four laps I was spinning a lot on the straight,” he said.

“Then you use more fuel and the consumption on the last laps was a lot. Even in fifth gear I was spinning on the straights. It was not a problem or issue for riding.”

With championships secured and more records broken, Marquez and Repsol Honda head into the 2019 finale focusing on the deficit of two points to the Ducati squad in the fight for the teams’ world title.

Marquez also celebrated his brother’s Moto2 title triumph earlier in the day at Sepang, when Alex Marquez claimed second place to mathematically wrap up the world championship with one race to spare

 

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