HONDA’S DAM­AGE LIM­I­TA­TION

Title race is wide open as Honda pair pile on the points and Yamaha stars fail to fin­ish at the front

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - SI­MON PATTERSON MO­TOGP RE­PORTER si­mon.patterson@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

The Rep­sol Honda duo of Marc Mar­quez and Dani Pe­drosa kept their 2017 Mo­togp world championship chances alive by sal­vaging a pair of podium po­si­tions from a dif­fi­cult week­end at their home race in Barcelona.

The week­end was es­pe­cially tough for Mar­quez, who suf­fered a stag­ger­ing five crashes as he strug­gled with a lack of grip at the slip­pery Mont­melò cir­cuit – and the reign­ing world cham­pion ad­mit­ted af­ter his sec­ond-placed fin­ish that he was lucky to es­cape the week­end un­scathed, never mind on the podium.

“I’m re­ally happy with how this week­end ended be­cause the sit­u­a­tion was quite tough men­tally. My team

MARC MAR­QUEZ

helped me re­gain con­fi­dence in my­self and in the bike. Be­fore the race I said to my­self that I was the same Marc as last year and that my style is to al­ways keep push­ing and never give up, some­thing I think makes the dif­fer­ence some­times. So I started the race with vic­tory as a tar­get.

“When I fi­nally passed Dani for sec­ond, I tried to close on Dovi but I soon re­alised that I couldn’t, that to­day was Dovi’s day, so I set­tled for sec­ond. The championship is kind of a roller­coaster so we don’t re­ally know what to ex­pect from race to race and we must only think about our­selves, keep the con­cen­tra­tion high, and try to give 100%.”

His team-mate Pe­drosa started from pole po­si­tion and was the book­ies’ favourite due to his light weight putting less stress on the tyres.

But, de­spite hav­ing to set­tle for third place at the che­quered flag, the 31-yearold Spa­niard was pleased to bounce back from a tor­rid race last time out in Mugello with a strong fin­ish that leaves him fourth in the championship and only 27 points be­hind se­ries leader Mav­er­ick Viñales af­ter seven rounds.

“Last week we had a ter­ri­ble race, whereas here we took pole and made the podium in front of my home crowd, which was amaz­ing. To be hon­est, we ex­pected to be a bit bet­ter but con­di­tions were very dif­fi­cult for the tyres the whole week­end. I tried to lead the race, to stay in front, but I could see Dovi com­ing on the straight, cut­ting the gas to not get too close, sav­ing the tyres a lit­tle bit bet­ter than me.

“I tried to save them all the way, but I just couldn’t do it enough. In the end I re­alised it was bet­ter to stay on the bike and get some good points. The championship is still open now, and we must be con­sis­tent ev­ery week­end.”

‘My style is to keep push­ing so I started the race with vic­tory as my tar­get’ ‘I re­alised it was bet­ter to stay on the bike and get some good points’ DANI PE­DROSA

Dovizioso won, but the Honda pair of Pe­drosa and Mar­quez weren’t far be­hind

Mar­quez crashed five times in the build up to the race

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