MotoGP World Champion ― 2007 and 2011
‘marc is fantastic. He’s incredibly fast and his reaction times are second to none — no one can get close to his reaction times. But I feel he’s so close to the edge all the time, at times unnecessarily. trends change. marc came in and was willing to go to those limits that others weren’t, so everybody started thinking that’s what I’ve got to do to win. But you’re never going to beat him at his own game, so don’t try. If he’s the best at that, you’re not going to be better than him at that. you’re better off trying to find your speed in other areas and playing to your own strengths.
‘Marc can fight and he can do all these things, but he can make mistakes, so I think the biggest thing you’d have to do is get out front, put in some fast laps at the beginning of the race and make him chase you down. Doing that he’s going to have to ride on an edge that he’s not overly comfortable with and, therefore, mistakes will occur.
‘People keep asking me if I could beat marc, but Jorge [lorenzo], Andrea [Dovizioso] and others have beaten him, and I could beat them, so I see no reason I couldn’t. But a few things have changed in MotoGP — Marc fights pretty damn hard! I also think he works harder than everyone else. He trains harder and he works harder at his weaknesses. If you work harder than your opponents, generally the results come.
‘one of the biggest things I see too much of in the motoGP paddock is pride. everybody’s too proud, so they want the bike to suit them, they want the bike to fit them. But the easiest thing to change is you. to re-engineer a bike takes a lot of money and effort and you don’t always get it right. Adapting yourself can be quicker. you are never too old to learn, so if you want to beat marc, you’ve got to work on any weaknesses in any areas of your riding.
‘When I was racing, a lot of people didn’t realize that dirt track was so important. Dirt track is why I was able to control the power. In dirt track there’s such a fine line between each person, so it’s a bit like road racing. They’re both about the fine details: looking for grip, then trying to find it again when the grip starts going away, because you can’t leave it to the electronics. In dirt track I’d be looking for that point, right on the end of a slick line, trying to find some little bit of dirt that’d give me the grip to outride my opponents in some unorthodox way. that’s basically what I did on the Ducati.’