Marquez says wet practices crucial to his Misano win
Honda’s Marc Marquez says the fact most of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend was rain-affected proved key to him being physically stronger in Sunday’s MotoGP race.
The six-time MotoGP world champion tallied up his third win of the 2021 season after inheriting victory when long-time leader Francesco Bagnaia crashed out on lap 23, ending his title hopes.
Marquez had shadowed Bagnaia for most of the race, piling the pressure on him as he did at Aragon last month, but had just conceded defeat when the Ducati rider crashed.
The Honda rider was left to lead the first factory Honda 1-2 since Aragon 2017, and to claim his first win on a clockwise circuit since Japan 2019.
Marquez has been limited by the physical condition of his recovering right shoulder in 2021, but says the fact much of the weekend was affected by rain meant he came into Sunday's Misano race feeling "fresh".
"This year I realised the qualifying practice is not my best point, or my strongest point, so then I started to focus a lot on the starts," Marquez said after starting from seventh.
"I started really good, really fast, from seventh to third in the first lap because I knew both Ducati riders will push from the beginning.
"In fact, when I saw the laptime in the beginning was 1m32.2s, I say 'OK, what's going on here' because yesterday I was struggling to do 1m33.8s.
"But today the feeling was there, the bike was working good.
"Especially also the last laps, the distance between me and the others was very big and it's something also that is important because in the end to have this margin, I was able to ride in a good way because in the last laps I was struggling a bit with my physical condition.
"But the fact that all weekend was in wet conditions, [this] gave me the chance to have the first Sunday where I arrived [to the race] fresh to ride with energy.
"When I woke up I said 'OK, I feel the arm is there, I have power'."
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Marquez's other wins in 2021 came at the anticlockwise Sachsenring and Circuit of the Americas, while his only other podium before today was at Aragon.
While pleased to end a long 1-2 drought for Honda, he admits being so strong at a circuit layout that has worked against him this year was more important.
"It's important for HRC staff, but especially because we won in a right-cornered circuit," he added.
"It was one of my targets, I already say on Thursday in the press conference I would like to finish on the podium here or at Portimao.
"We won here in a really fast race, the way that we were able to manage the race was really, really good.
"It's true that Pecco was faster than us and in the lap that I gave up, because he was pushing a lot, was when he crashed.
"It's something that happened in the races, but we were able to push, we were able to be fast, to be competitive, especially in the race pace.
"For me, to win a race like flag to flag or in wet conditions, OK it's a victory, but the way that I won a race following Pecco, who is really fast in this race track, and in a right corner circuit and pushing in a lap record.
"It's something really nice, really important for myself, for my team and for preparing 2022 really well."
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