A Conversation With MotoGP Points Leader Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez, from Spain, talked about his incredible rookie season for the Repsol Honda Team. Marquez, 20, already has won three races, including the last two leading into the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 16-18 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Earlier this season, he became the youngest premier-class race winner in the 64-year history of Grand Prix motorcycle racing.
He enters Indianapolis with a 16-point lead over teammate and two-time Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Dani Pedrosa and a 26-point lead over reigning World Champion and 2009 Indianapolis winner Jorge Lorenzo.
Marquez has enjoyed success at IMS, winning the Moto2 races in 2011 and 2012 before climbing to the premier MotoGP class this year.
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Today our guest is current MotoGP World Championship leader, Marc Marquez.
Just a little background about Marc. Marc is from Spain. He is, as I said, leading the World Championship standings. He has a 16-point lead over his teammate and two time Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Dani Pedrosa and a 26-point lead over reigning world champion and 2009 Indianapolis winner, Jorge Lorenzo.
Marc has won three races this season, including the last two heading into the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, and he also has won twice here in Indianapolis winning in Moto2 the last two years.
Marc, thank you very much for taking the time to join us.
MARC MARQUEZ: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: You've won here twice at Indianapolis, but on the Moto2 bikes. What is it about this circuit that suits your style? What do you like about this circuit?
MARC MARQUEZ: You know, generally, I like the American style also, and we go in another circuit that's in America, I feel so good.
But especially here in Indianapolis, I won the last two years, and that is good news to go there because you feel a little bit different, but Indianapolis, it's always special from its history. The track is quite particular because you need to be so concentrate because especially on the first practice (inaudible audio disturbance) the track is like (inaudible) and I like it.
Q. You're leading the World Championship, you've won three races and you're the absolute phenomena of the 2013 season, and Casey Stoner is developing the 2014 bike. How do you feel about that?
MARC MARQUEZ: Yes, thank you very much. You know, I feel I feel so good. You know, for us it's quite important. It pays to drive that bike. I think it's quite important because, you know, sure, I didn't have information about the Motegi test because I didn't speak with the Japanese guys, but I would like for them in Indianapolis that sure, Casey, I feel that he's so fast and he put the bike on the limit, sure, there in that test, and I think it's important for Honda and for Dani, for me, because he was there (inaudible) the part, he tested that and all the limits, because sometimes you can test some if you part but if you are not on the correct lap times or you didn't push a lot, then you cannot feel well.
If I'm working quite good, or maybe we are (inaudible) but testing with Casey there will be important.
Q. MotoGP bikes absolutely fly at Indianapolis, top speed. How fast is your bike going to be at Indianapolis? How fast do you guess?
MARC MARQUEZ: In Indianapolis, yeah, it's one of the longest straights in the World Championship. I don't know which is the toughest speedway for the MotoGP bike because I never ride there with MotoGP bike, but sure will be around 340, 350 (km/h), more or less.
I didn't know exactly, but sure, we will arrive quite quick on the end of the stretch. And also, it's quite difficult because you arrive with a lot of speed and also the danger of that corner, it's quite fast, so we have been testing.
Q. Are you surprised by all the success and does it catch you kind of by surprise that it's gone so well this season?
MARC MARQUEZ: Yeah, I'm surprised; if I'm honest, I didn't expect that before the season. OK, the target was especially in the races, try to finish the races and try to get some points. And then before to finish the first part of the season, try to get some volume. And then on the second part, to be close on the podium and try to win some race.
But, you know, already I won three races and I finish off the races on the podium. So I didn't expect that to be before the season, but I think it's so good to feel like that on the bike, because from the beginning, I feel quite good, I feel quite strong, and then it's a good news.
Q. Have you been taken by surprise by the reaction that you've gotten from people, both from a fan standpoint, I guess mostly?
MARC MARQUEZ: Yeah, you know, when you are at MotoGP bike, it's a different bike, a different team, because you come in a very big factory, and then the tire is a little bit different.
But also, outside the track, the fans, the people, the journalists, also it's a big difference compared with Moto2, with Moto3.
And also, still, I need to adapt a little bit that, because it's still sometimes it's too big for me, but anyway, you know, if you have professional persons around you, then it's a little bit easier.
But it's so important to have all the fans, because it's important to be there and have fans in the good moment and also in the moment where I'm struggling a little bit more.
Q. Which transition between classes did you find easier, from 125s to Moto2, or from Moto2 to MotoGP?
MARC MARQUEZ: You know, it's a little bit different, but almost I feel a little bit easier from Moto2 to MotoGP. Especially because also maybe when I jump from 125 to Moto2, also I was a little bit younger with less experience.
And then if you remember, I crash many times in the beginning, especially in the races. But also, we change, 125 was two stroke and then Moto2 was four stroke engine, and that was a very big difference. Also, the weight was … it's 70 kilos, 75, and Moto2 was 140, and that difference is maybe was too big.
But when you jump from Moto2 to MotoGP, that difference is a little bit smaller. Just what you need to do is just try to understand all the electronic parts, the style, just the planning of the box, it's quite important. But also if you have a professional team around you, then it's a little bit easier.
But I think the key was the preseason, because we work a lot and we did many tests in Malaysia, and from there we try many, many things and I start to understand a lot of things.
Q. And the engine braking is certainly different between the two stroke and four stroke. Now, you guys are going to be heading straight back to Europe right after this race, and a big flurry of races coming on. This is part of the season where things get tiring, isn't it?
MARC MARQUEZ: Now it's coming maybe the hardest part of the season. Especially with three races around Indianapolis and Silverstone, we will need to be so concentrate. And I try to keep the team level, but also Indianapolis, I'm curious to see my level with Lorenzo, Pedrosa, a hundred percent recovery.
We have been testing, but then coming against (inaudible) will be tough, but anyway, you know, the pressure is for Lorenzo, Pedrosa.
Q. I know that you've been training with dirt track bikes, something that a lot of American riders would be interested in. Why are you using dirt track methods to train?
MARC MARQUEZ: You know, when I was younger, I like it so much and I enjoy it a lot. I'm already with 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 years old, I did many laps on this track bike. And then, you know, in Spain in America, it's more popular the dirt track but here in Spain, not so much.
But now this season, I say, OK, I want to start again with the dirt track, because I like it and I enjoy it. And then you feel the bike a little bit different, because you're going on the bike you're going in the corner so fast, and then you need to stop, pick up the bike and go. It's more or less like in what you use in MotoGP.
Also, the attention in corner, you need to control the slide and you need to control gas, and basically, I think it's quite good because then you feel a little bit different, and also the reason maybe is because I enjoy it a lot.
Q. Many of the riders, particularly the Yamaha riders, believe the Honda has an advantage in acceleration and that turns into an advantage in top speed. From your point of view, sitting on the Honda, where do the Yamahas have an advantage, if any, over the Hondas?
MARC MARQUEZ: This, what I said depends on the circuit, because sometimes, OK, maybe when they grip, maybe we have a little bit more acceleration. But when the grip when you ride a little bit more, sometimes you cannot use all that power on the grip. Maybe it's too big of power or maybe inaudible the corner driving a little speed with maybe the bike is a little bit smaller and maybe is a little bit more easier to ride in the beginning.
But then when you find the best spot, you can be there and you can be a little bit faster. But you know, we have been testing to see Lorenzo and Valentino, because looks like they tried the gearbox that is seamless and we will see, but, you know, this year, those bikes are quite close.
Q. From the start of the season, you have spoken a lot about how much you learned, I remember the first race at Qatar, you said you were learning so much by being behind Dani and being behind Valentino. You learn very, very quickly. How much more do you think you have to learn?
MARC MARQUEZ: I don't know, at the moment, I feel so good on the bike the last few races, I feel a little bit more free on the bike, and this is the most important. OK, in the beginning of the season, I said that I feel I learn many, many things about the other rider, but now, OK, now I think we need to do more laps, try to ride the bike and sure, we will improve a little bit or maybe correct we will try to improve.
But anyway, I will try to keep that level, but now I understand many, many things and will try something at Laguna, I feel so good on the bike. We will see now what is the limit.
Q. What do you think you still have to learn? Is there any one thing in particular, one area, where you think, I still need to understand this to get my full potential?
MARC MARQUEZ: Still I need to improve a little bit, I try to use all the performance from a new tire, because on the qualifying track, still with the new tires, I'm struggling a little bit. I didn't use all that performance, and then with the new tire, I feel much better.
But with the new tires, I need to try to understand, try to use all the performance and try to push only for one lap in the qualifying practice.
Q. You mentioned earlier that you don't feel as much pressure as maybe Dani and Jorge do, but normally we would see someone in their first year with the freedom to take each race as it comes and no pressure. You are now leading the championship by 16 points going into the second half. Does this affect your approach to each race as it comes along?
MARC MARQUEZ: No. At the moment, the target, the mentality, it's completely the same than the first part of the season. You know, OK, I feel a little bit, a little bit the pressure because we are leading the championship, and, you know, we did a very good race. So you feel a pressure that you need to keep the level. But anyway, I will try to prepare and to keep the thing level, but our mentality is completely the same as the beginning of the season.
Q. Just as a follow up to that, certainly thinking about your race at Estoril in 2010 when you came from the back of the pack on the restart to run second at one stage, your team put out a board saying, P2 is OK. Did you see that board before you took the win, and if you did, what did you think?
MARC MARQUEZ: Yeah, many times I saw the board and you know, always the team, Emilio tries to give to me what they think. But they don't know if I feel good on the bike or if I feel a little bit on the limit or a little bit but anyway. Yeah, I see on that time, I see many, many times.
But sometimes it's important to see that for them, for the championship, they are seeing a little bit different than me for the championship, looks that P2 is OK, but always I feel that, ‘OK, if I can win that race, why not, I will try, if you feel good with the bikes.’
Q. What specifically have you been doing for rain train since Laguna Seca? A lot of guys ride bicycles or has it been dirt track?
MARC MARQUEZ: First I did one week completely off. For one week I try to disconnect a little bit, try to take some free time, tried to relax, and then I come back and, you know, some bicycle, some running, some gym, some dirt track and overall, I did all those kind of things. A little bit I try to keep the same work as in the preseason, because since now, working well, so why try to change that?
THE MODERATOR: With that, Marc, I want to thank you very much for taking the time today to call in to talk to us, and special thanks to Rhys Edwards with Repsol Honda for helping to make this call happen.
We wish you the best of luck and we are looking forward to seeing you here in weekend in Indianapolis. Thank you, Marc.
MARC MARQUEZ: Thank you very much.