‘ I don’t un­der­stand how Marc did it’

Mar­quez risks ev­ery­thing to win and draw level with Du­cati star Dovizioso

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

Three rid­ers will fight to the bit­ter end in one of the clos­est fin­ishes to a cham­pi­onship race in Mo­togp his­tory, af­ter Marc Mar­quez and An­drea Dovizioso left Sun­day’s San Marino Grand Prix on equal points af­ter 13 ac­tion-packed races. And with Mav­er­ick Viñales only another 16 points be­hind, it looks set to be a spec­tac­u­lar and un­pre­dictable end to what has been a thrilling sea­son with only five rounds to go.

In fact, so close is the cham­pi­onship bat­tle that Mar­quez ad­mit­ted af­ter the race that his desperate need for points is forc­ing him to take risks when­ever the op­por­tu­nity presents it­self.

Play­ing it safe does not seem to be an op­tion for the Rep­sol Honda star. And with Du­cati ace Dovizioso on stun­ning form, Mar­quez was forced to push in­cred­i­bly hard in the clos­ing stages of Sun­day’s race to make it past Danilo Petrucci for the win and 25 valu­able points.

“Hon­estly, I didn’t feel con­fi­dent be­cause the track was so slip­pery. When you see a Moto2 and Moto3 race with so many crashes, you lose even more con­fi­dence. But I re­alised that I might need those five points in Va­len­cia at the end of the year, so I tried, I pushed, and I took a big risk.

“If I had crashed, every­one would have said ‘he never changes, blah blah blah.’ But that is my style, and it has given me five cham­pi­onships, so I’ve got to keep push­ing while still try­ing to man­age the risk.

“The last lap was amaz­ing, though – prob­a­bly one of the best races of my ca­reer. You can’t imag­ine the ten­sion and the pres­sure dur­ing the race – it was so dif­fi­cult to keep men­tally strong and stay fo­cused. I took a lot of risks, but that’s my style and with this cham­pi­onship you have to take an ex­tra five points if you can get them.”

How­ever, de­spite the pres­sure of the race held in tor­ren­tial rain, Mar­quez also con­ceded that he did slow to think about the cham­pi­onship bat­tle – if only briefly!

“I was think­ing about it, and in the first part of the race my feel­ing wasn’t so good and I had a few moments where I nearly crashed. But when Danilo over­took me, I knew it was time to take a risk and try and change my rhythm and stay with him. But when Jorge crashed, I re­alised I needed to keep go­ing and try to stay with him.”

And with Mar­quez and Dovizioso now level on cham­pi­onship points (and even on wins, leav­ing Mar­quez just ahead thanks to scor­ing more se­cond places), he says he’s ex­cited to see what the five-round minicham­pi­onship bat­tle will bring.

“This cham­pi­onship is amaz­ing. Ev­ery­thing can hap­pen it seems, like we’ve seen in the last few races. Now we’re back on top with An­drea, and the last five races will be very tough. We just need to keep push­ing and give it our all as we fight all the way.”

‘I took a lot of risks, but that’s my style and I might need those five points’ MARC MAR­QUEZ

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