Marquez: Assen was the "best race" for my title defence
Marc Marquez says the Dutch TT was the "best race" for his MotoGP championship hopes, after the Honda increased his points lead to 44 by finishing second.
Qualifying off the front row for the first time this season amidst a "difficult weekend" at Assen, Marquez battled with eventual winner Maverick Vinales and third-placed Fabio Quartararo, before backing off in the latter stages to consolidate second while main title rival Andrea Dovizioso was fourth.
Marquez admits his struggles over the Assen weekend meant he "didn't care" about fighting for the win ahead of Sunday's race, and was solely focused on simply securing a podium.
"The best race for the championship," Marquez said afterwards. "Of course, it was a difficult weekend for, but even after a difficult weekend [where] we suffer, we finish second and fight until the end.
"I didn't care about the victory, I was just concentrated on the podium, to fight for the podium.
"I was waiting behind Quartararo, and was waiting for Vinales because I knew he had better pace, and when he overtook I just used his slipstream to get away from Quartararo and the others.
"When I saw Quartararo was already four second [behind], my tyres were finished – especially the rear – and then I say 'okay, this is the position we want', and 20 points is good for the championship.
"We increased the advantage, and this is the best way to work for our target."
Marquez was one of only a few to opt for the soft rear tyre despite the hot track conditions, but says this was necessary in order to keep up with the Yamahas and pull away from the pack.
Lacking confidence on the harder compounds in races runs during practice, Marquez also notes running them would have dropped him closer to the battle for fourth with Dovizioso
"I choose the soft because my strategy was go away with both Yamahas," he revealed
"But I never had in my mind to lead the race, because when you lead the race you use more the tyre, and you destroy the soft tyre even more.
"So my target was to be with Yamaha riders until lap 15; I knew I was ready to be with them.
"I knew in the last laps I [would] suffer, but then you know you are 15 laps in good pace, and [then] you survive 10 laps.
"But with the hard, the risk was to stay with Dovizioso, [Franco] Morbidelli and be on that slower pace."
He added: "Of course, when I saw Maverick was extremely fast today, I was there following him just two laps, three laps, then I start to understand [there was] a lot of risk.
"I say already yesterday in the [qualifying] press conference Quartararo was 89 points behind us, and Maverick 100, and this is something I have to keep in my mind."
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