‘Worst start of sea­son’ pre­vents Span­ish duel

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - IN SPAIN BSB RE­PORTER OLI RUSHBY

Marc Mar­quez missed out on the chance of wrap­ping up the 2016 sea­son with a vic­tory at Va­len­cia after giv­ing Jorge Lorenzo the inch he needed to take a mile in the open­ing laps of Sun­day’s clos­ing Mo­togp race – but he did pull off a cun­ning move with his tyre choice.

With Lorenzo show­ing rapid pace through­out the week­end, Mar­quez knew if he was to frus­trate his fel­low Spa­niard he had to be on him in the open­ing laps, but any hope of that was ended after just me­tres as a dread­ful start saw his front wheel fly sky­wards.

There is no doubt Mar­quez had the pace to fight for the win, as shown by his late-race charge to slash Lorenzo’s gap from five sec­onds to one by the end. With­out cru­cial time lost in the first few laps, the sell-out crowd could have been treated to a very dif­fer­ent race.

Honda rider Mar­quez played a clever game across the week­end by claim­ing he’d not had time to work with the new pro­file front tyre op­tion Miche­lin had in­tro­duced in prepa­ra­tion for 2017. How­ever, come the race he opted to run the new pro­file with the harder com­pound – some­thing that en­abled him to gain sig­nif­i­cant ground on Lorenzo in the clos­ing laps.

“To­day the big­gest prob­lem was the start,” Mar­quez said. “We had a prob­lem; the clutch started spinning and I lost many po­si­tions – and that pe­nalised me too much for the rest of the race as I lost a lot of time and had to catch up with Rossi and Ian­none.”

While the start may have been his big­gest prob­lem, it wasn’t the only thing to hold Mar­quez back be­cause the lack of ac­cel­er­a­tion that has plagued Honda all sea­son was plain to see as he bat­tled with Ian­none and Rossi.

“It took me a long time to get past Valentino and Ian­none,” he ex­plained. “Not only is it very dif­fi­cult to over­take other rid­ers here, but ev­ery time I tried they would pass me back on the straight. Our weak point this year has been ac­cel­er­a­tion and I was los­ing out not only to Du­cati but to the Yama­has as well. We must work on im­prov­ing that this win­ter.

“Once I was past I man­aged to open a small gap, and from that point I started to push as if I had noth­ing to lose. I was catch­ing Jorge but I started to see the laps re­main­ing and the time, I told my­self it would be dif­fi­cult but I tried.”

Mar­quez may have pushed as if he had noth­ing to lose but, with the man­u­fac­tur­ers’ ti­tle still up for grabs, this was not the case. Fin­ish­ing sec­ond to Lorenzo was enough to see Honda take it, but a fall could have risked hand­ing it to Yamaha.

While he wasn’t able to cel­e­brate race vic­tory in Va­len­cia his team rolled out the ti­tle cel­e­bra­tions they had planned in case he took the ti­tle in Aus­tralia. How­ever, with his tri­umph com­ing ear­lier than ex­pected, they left him to cel­e­brate in front of the thou­sands of home fans packed into Va­len­cia.

‘I started to push as if I had noth­ing to lose and I was catch­ing Jorge’ MARC MAR­QUEZ

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