Sinking the #8ball on his first attempt, Marc Marquez won his sixth premier class title after a thrilling win at the last corner of the Thai GP. Fresh from his return to Europe, Marc Marquez sat down to discuss the 2019 season at the Campus Repsol in Madrid, Spain.
How do you feel coming home with a new World Championship?
“I arrived in Spain last night and I am very happy to be, not yet in my own house, but in my sporting home, because I have been with Repsol for many years. They have accompanied me throughout my career and I value them a lot. It has been an almost perfect year, but it can always be improved. A dream year where we took the title – which was the main objective – but we are very proud of the way we achieved it. And I speak in the plural, because I am here, but all my team, all the people around me, who help me everyday are missing.”
How was the title celebration?
“The party went well, I’m still getting my voice back! We celebrated the title as it deserves to be celebrated, because it is a World Championship and you never know when this dream is going to end, so you have to celebrate it to the fullest. We spent the night in Bangkok and had a good time with the whole team. I will not give details, but there was dancing, shouting, partying – a little bit of everything. This time there was no karaoke, but it wasn’t necessary.”
How was this season after the shoulder injury?
“It is clear that in the life of an athlete there are hard times and good times, like this one. Complicated situations are what make you strong and this winter was one of the toughest in my career because I couldn’t do what I like most in the world – riding my motorcycle. I could not train, because I needed the operation, but I overcame it with the help of all the people who pushed me. I arrived at the first race, maybe not one hundred percent, but in the best way I could be. You always think that all that work has to have a reward. Once you start and you see the results coming, it gives you even more strength.”
You said it has been an almost perfect year. Why, almost?
“Because when you have an excess of confidence it is when mistakes can arrive. It happened in the race we least expected, which was Austin, where I fell when I was leading with a four second advantage. It was a seemingly done victory and, because of how relaxed I was, I fell. That’s why you always have to be completely focused, you can’t get confused, and you have to learn from mistakes. It has been a very good year, but it does not mean that we can stop working.”
You made your mother suffer a lot by risking the last corner. How did she react?
“Yes! I had already made her quite angry on Friday, because we started the weekend with a big scare. You take the hit, but the people around you suffer much more. Both my mother, my father; the whole family suffers. They have been behind me for many years, they are the base and, when a four-year-old asks for a motorcycle and the father or mother does not give it to him, it is impossible to get here. But logically they have been suffering for many years.”
Agostini has said he believes you can beat his 15 titles. How do you feel about it?
“I get along very well with him and I have heard these statements. I don’t like the word impossible, I will never say it, but it is almost impossible. It means winning double what I have achieved so far. I have never been obsessed with a number or a name – I just enjoy my passion for racing. I feel very lucky that it is my job, where I try to do my best.”
“Honda makes a motorcycle and the rider has to have the ability to adapt. There is a whole technical group behind us, they are human, and it’s with the results of their work that you have to know how to adapt and get the most out of each situation.”
-Marc Marquez, 2019 MotoGP World Champion
You always say that you get where you are thanks to your rivals. How much do you need Fabio Quartararo and a strong Jorge Lorenzo next season?
“The closer, the better! We are in an era in MotoGP in which the mechanical equality, although the final numbers of the championship do not reflect it, is one of the best it has been. I say this because there are four factories capable of winning races and fighting for a World Championship. This means that there are at least eight bikes with chances of winning races, and it is something that did not happen before. You have to know how to reinvent yourself, learn from veterans like Valentino [Rossi], Jorge or Dovi and also from young riders, like Fabio or Viñales.”
What can be improved from this year?
“It has been a very good year and it will be difficult to improve. But one of my idols is Rafa Nadal and when you see him in a match and wonder what he can do better, he always takes a new step forward. Or when Messi scores a goal, you think again that he can’t do better and then he goes and scores another which is better. I try to model myself on them; they are always improving. I will try to learn from mistakes. Rivals show you your level and that is where we will try to continue growing.”
Would it be a dream for you to be Champion alongside your brother again?
“My brother is working hard, putting together a very good year. He is winning with heart, but there are four races left in which he has to show the best of himself, manage the pressure. For my part I will not put more pressure than he already has, just help him to enjoy it, stay as concentrated as possible and push. If you try and then it does not happen, you will have a clear conscience.”
After Friday’s fall, did you think about slowing down? Why did you want to win the title in Thailand?
“I wanted to get the title in Thailand because it was the first match-ball. When you have a certain advantage in the championship, you look for new motivations. I like to live in the present and go race by race. On Thursday before starting the Grand Prix I already said that my intention was to win this weekend, or at least try. Then your rivals tell you if you can or can’t, they give you the answer immediately on track. That’s why I tried until the last corner, because it is more beautiful to achieve the championship with a race win. Across the season you are building and understanding that you can be Champion and you have to look for the motivation to have that euphoria when you cross the finish line.”
What was the turning point of the season where you saw that you could win the title?
“There have been two important moments this year. The first was in Jerez, after Austin’s mistake, when we won in the same way as we intended to win in Austin. There are 25 points, but you show your rivals that your confidence is the same, that the desire and mentality is the same. And the other was in Barcelona. We won the race and several rivals were unable to score. It was a shame, because it was not a mistake of their own, but they were the turning points in this championship.”
Does Honda make a motorcycle for Marc Marquez, or is Marc Marquez the rider who best understands the Honda?
“Honda makes a motorcycle and the rider has to have the ability to adapt. The positive for our team and our structure is that the three riders that have the same motorcycle, Jorge [Lorenzo], Cal [Crutchlow] and I, have the same comments and feedback for evolution. There is a whole technical group behind us, they are human, and it’s with the results of their work that you have to know how to adapt and get the most out of each situation.”
What motivation do you have for the four remaining races?
“The first objective I have in Japan is to try to finish the race, because after being a Champion, every year I have fallen in the next race. I already said in Aragon that my intention was to try to finish on the podium in all the remaining races and it remains the same, without forgetting that there is a Constructors Championship that we are leading and also the Team Championship, which Ducati is now leading, but the Repsol Honda Team is just 19 points behind and we will keep pushing for it.”