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
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
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