Mar­quez won’t go with­out a fight

Spa­niard takes cru­cial win to rekin­dle ti­tle fire

Motorcycle News (UK) - - THIS WEEK IN MCN - SI­MON PAT­TER­SON MO­TOGP RE­PORTER si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

Marc Mar­quez put Mav­er­ick Viñales firmly in his place on Sun­day by show­ing just why he is the King of Texas. His em­phatic win ex­tended his un­beaten record on US soil to an in­cred­i­ble nine vic­to­ries and closes the cham­pi­onship points gap to Viñales in the process.

Com­ing into the week­end with un­prece­dented pres­sure to take the fight to his fel­low Spa­niard af­ter two straight de­feats in Qatar and Ar­gentina, the reign­ing world cham­pion did not come up short.

Mar­quez man­aged to stay calm, de­spite a se­ries of crashes and a se­ri­ous chal­lenge from Viñales through­out prac­tice and qual­i­fy­ing.

He ad­mit­ted to MCN that he had to adapt to the sit­u­a­tion and not crum­ble as his Span­ish ri­val piled on the pres­sure.

“It was a strange feel­ing, be­cause it was an im­por­tant week­end and I felt that pres­sure, but at the same time I felt the con­fi­dence that a good cir­cuit gives to you, when it’s good for your rid­ing style. You know that if you have some prob­lems with your rid­ing style you can man­age them a lit­tle bit, and I was able to man­age them well.

“On Fri­day, I thought that things might be more dif­fi­cult, but then on Satur­day we made a big change on the bike, and it was com­pletely dif­fer­ent af­ter­ward – I had a com­pletely dif­fer­ent feel­ing. I knew af­ter that that we could chal­lenge. But the pres­sure was there, es­pe­cially in the be­gin­ning of the race, and it wasn’t easy to man­age it.”

But while he might have been the clear favourite at the start of the week-

end, as the se­ries headed to a track where his un­beaten record stretches back to his first ever premiere class win in 2013, Mar­quez sounded re­lieved that things had gone ac­cord­ing to plan af­ter scor­ing only 13 points in the first two rounds of 2017.

“It was an im­por­tant week­end and it was vi­tal to come back af­ter the crash in Ar­gentina in the best way, with a vic­tory. But it wasn’t easy to do, be­cause the tem­per­a­ture got much higher on Sun­day and I told my chief me­chanic five min­utes be­fore the race that I wanted to change to the hard front tyre.

“In the end, it was the right idea to move from the medium be­cause I was push­ing the front a lot at the end of the race. But it meant that I had to take more care at the start of the race and to un­der­stand where the limit of the tyre was. I was be­hind Dani try­ing to man­age the race, but when I saw he was suf­fer­ing and Valentino was close I knew it was time to at­tack.”

And, leav­ing team-mate Pe­drosa for dead as he cleared off to win by an even­tual three sec­onds, the 24-yearold ad­mit­ted af­ter­wards that the race had been a huge re­lief af­ter a dif­fi­cult de­fence of his crown.

“Ev­ery year is dif­fi­cult and ev­ery year we give 100%, but this year ev­ery­thing has been a lit­tle tighter. I man­aged the race and felt quite com­fort­able, which is im­por­tant, but it’s pos­si­bly the most im­por­tant vic­tory for me here.

“We came from Ar­gentina where I made a mis­take, it was im­por­tant to come back strong and to win one race be­fore we go to Europe – and we did that. It’s also im­por­tant that we’re third again in the cham­pi­onship be­cause be­fore the race I looked at the TV and I was eighth and I knew I had to start to come back!”

‘ This is pos­si­bly the most im­por­tant race vic­tory I have had here’ MARC MAR­QUEZ

Yeee­hah! He’s grabbed the bull by the horns You can’t keep a great man like Mar­quez down

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