‘I HAD TO BEAT ROSSI’

Honda man puts it on the line to win big in Aragon and step up ti­tle push

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Si­mon Pat­ter­son MO­TOGP RE­PORTER

Mar­quez re­cov­ers from a near miss with dis­as­ter to cruise to the front at Aragon – putting Rossi fur­ther back in the bat­tle for the ti­tle.

Marc Mar­quez de­feated his Mo­togp ri­vals on track and off by tak­ing a dom­i­nant win at Mo­tor­land Aragon on Sun­day. His em­phatic vic­tory was played out in front of his ever- grow­ing army of fans at a track where he knew he could dom­i­nate be­fore the week­end even got un­der­way.

With the knowl­edge that both he and his Rep­sol Honda ex­cel at the Span­ish cir­cuit, Mar­quez aban­doned his re­cent tac­tics of be­ing con­sis­tent and con­ser­va­tive in a bid to main­tain his se­ries lead.

In­stead of bid­ing his time and sim­ply fol­low­ing ti­tle ri­vals Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi to a safe podium fin­ish, he in­stead went on the at­tack, tak­ing a con­vinc­ing race vic­tory de­spite mak­ing po­ten­tially cru­cial er­rors early in the race.

“I’m very happy to have taken the win at my home Grand Prix, and one of my favourite races. I was wait­ing for this race, and it was a ‘red point’ on the cal­en­dar for me, as I saw it as one where I wanted to at­tack and where I could win the race,” Mar­quez said.

And while he might have been the fastest man on track dur­ing Sun­day’s race, Mar­quez ad­mits he was lucky to ac­tu­ally fin­ish the 23-lap en­counter, af­ter a huge mo­ment at turn seven on lap three.

“I tried to lead the way to build a gap, but I had a big mo­ment. I was al­ready on the floor – I don’t know how I saved the crash. Af­ter that I said ‘OK, quiet, step by step again.’ I gained po­si­tions, some time against Valentino and when I caught him I re­laxed for one lap then I over­took him and I at­tacked to open a gap. It was enough to win the race. It was a mir­a­cle that I didn’t crash.”

But de­spite the scare, there was noth­ing to slow him in the sec­ond

half of the race, and he now holds a mas­sive 52-point lead in the cham­pi­onship bat­tle with only four races left to go and 100 points avail­able.

Re­gard­less of his stun­ning pace and his ti­tle lead, the 23-yearold, who matched fel­low Rep­sol Honda rider Mick Doohan’s record of 54 Grand Prix wins with the vic­tory, says that there’s still time for any­thing to hap­pen.

“It’s a nice ad­van­tage but like we saw to­day it’s im­por­tant to be very fo­cused, be­cause to crash is re­ally easy. We go to into the Asian tour now and this is one of the most dif­fi­cult points of the sea­son be­cause it’s three races in a row. We need to keep the same men­tal­ity, the same con­cen­tra­tion. We know that at some cir­cuits we will strug­gle more, some cir­cuits less, but we need to be like we are now.

“But it was im­por­tant to beat Valentino. He was catch­ing me step by step, and it was im­por­tant to stop him. If not, his men­tal­ity is go­ing up, up, up, and we would start to have some doubts. But here I feel good again on the bike. I was wait­ing for this race, on the cal­en­dar. I came here to at­tack for a win, and ev­ery­thing went to plan.”

Ôwhen I caught Valentino, I re­laxed for a lap then at­tackedõ MARC MAR­QUEZ

Vic­tory at Aragon puts Mar­quez 52 points clear at the top of the ti­tle stand­ings

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