MOTEGI (JAPAN): He might have secured his Moto GP title already, but Honda’s Marc Marquez will go into the Japanese weekend’s race — Round 16 of World Championship — at Twin Ring Motegi Circuit with an eye on next season. This is the 26-year-old rider’s sixth title in his Grand Prix career, and eighth overall (was 125cc (now Moto3) world champion in 2010 and Moto2 winner in 2012).
“The target now is to win the ‘Triple Crown’,” Marquez said. “The constructors championship is there, but the team championship will be difficult. We’ll never give up. 2020 starts in Motegi.”The title made Marquez the youngest six-time champion. He took that honour from Italian great Giacomo Agostini, who did it at the age of 29. Marquez has now won nine races this season, including the last three in a row, with 14 podium appearances. With four races to spare, he has 325 points, with rival Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) at a distant 215 points.
However, Marquez did not have the best of time in practice on Friday in Motegi. He was fourth in Free Practice 1 and improved his time by just under a second to go third on the combined time-sheets (Practice 1 and 2). With rain predicted on Saturday, riders might have to push hard.“The way we began and approached the race was fine today,” Marquez said.
“But we struggled a bit. We started at normal pace but it was not the best feeling. We tried to adapt to the conditions. I stopped four times in the box. But it’s normal for me because I try to work for the race. Even in these situations, the pace is not that bad. But we need to work in a different way.”
Even at the last race, in Thailand, Marquez had a forgettable time in practice. The Spaniard suffered a huge crash that sent him to the hospital for checks. He again fell in qualifying, but he didn’t put a foot wrong in his eventual title-winning run. Though the championship has been secured, Marquez said he has his sights set on the podium in the remaining races.
“I will be going with the same mentality. I will try to finish on podium. That’s the first target. It is very difficult to race in the remaining rounds. In some races, Yamaha will be very fast. In some, Ducati will be. But we need to focus on our preparation and try to keep the mentality same throughout the weekend. We can win. We will try to finish on the podium.”
‘Best season ever’
On a winning spree, Marquez felt he has been in his best-ever form. “I would say this is my best in terms of consistency in my career. I was very solid every weekend, and very much focussed. In 2014, speed was there; I won many races. However in terms for championship, this one was the best I’ve ever had.”