After being overtaken by Marquez in the 13th lap of the Sepang GP, Rossi runs Marquez wide and when Marquez’s Honda gets too close, Rossi pushes his leg against the bike. Marquez falls off his bike and is forced to retire. Rossi continues and finishes in third place. The race is won by Jorge Lorenzo. Marquez:
We were having a good race up until the incident – we started a fight between us and I always passed without making contact with him. At Turn 14 he passed me on the inside and I saw him looking at me. I didn’t know what to do. Then he kicked out at me, knocking my brake lever, and I crashed. Both what Valentino said to race direction and what he did on the track has made me disappointed. I’ve never seen anything like it: a rider kicking another rider.
Following a post-race investigation, Rossi is given three penalty points and will start the final race of the season from the back of the grid after kicking Marquez off his bike during the Malaysian Grand Prix. MotoGP race director Webb:
It’s irresponsible riding causing a crash and for that we have imposed three penalties points on Rossi.
Rossi now leads Lorenzo by just seven points in the championship. Rossi:
Unfortunately, I lose a lot of time with Marc. And in turn 14, I tried to go a bit wide to take a better line and make him slow. He came to me and I think he crashed in that moment. His handlebar touched my foot and my foot slipped off, a bike can’t crash only with a touch. He has won his fight, he made me lose the championship.
Yamaha have said they will appeal against the sanction.
When returning to his home in Lleida, after a day out dirt biking with his brother and father, Marquez is met by an Italian camera crew from Italian TV show Le Iene (The Hyenas). When Marquez refuses to be interviewed, they shout insults and make rude gestures at him. They follow him into his garage and scuffle with him, pulling his arm and scratching his neck. The family say they will file a police report, and release a statement:
A group of people appeared at the rider’s home and shouted a series of insults, made certain ridiculous and humiliating actions towards the rider himself and even pushed and assaulted his closest relatives. Given the seriousness of these actions, such acts have been condemned and the normal course of criminal proceedings will be followed against such persons.
The TV station also releases a statement:
Our Hyenas went to Spain this afternoon to try to deliver to the pilot of Motogp Marc Marquez the ‘Cup of Sh*t,’ A special prize designed to celebrate the ‘deeds’ of the Spanish rider. But things didn’t go as expected. We arrived in the vicinity of the dwelling of the parents of the pilot where we met Marc Marquez, his father, his brother and a friend. When we tried to deliver our cup we were attacked and in the struggle they broke the camera and took the video card. They must have wanted a bigger cup.
Reporters for the satirical Italian TV programme ‘Le Iene’ (The Hyenas) instruct their lawyers to take legal action against Marquez and his relatives for assault, injury, slander and theft. They say says that the version of events released by Marquez’s lawyers is unverified, and insist that Marquez was not insulted or humiliated, and that it was actually the two reporters who were assaulted. The programme says it will release graphical evidence which “documents exactly what happened” on Monday Nov 2.
Nakamoto says that, while video evidence is inconclusive, data from Marquez bike shows that Rossi kicked Marquez.
First of all, we would like to state that we believe it is very important to speak about the facts, not about assumptions. A fact is a fact and there is only one interpretation…It is clear that Valentino intentionally pushed Marc towards the outside of the track, which is out of the rules, therefore Marc had no other option other than to run wide. The data from Marc’s bike shows that even though he was picking up the bike trying to avoid contact with Valentino, his front brake lever suddenly received an impact that locked the front tyre, which is the reason for his crash. We believe that this pressure was a result of Rossi’s kick. The data acquisition from Marc’s bike is available if anybody from Dorna, the FIM or media want to check.
I know Marc well. He is a good guy, with strong and honest values. Marc was just trying to defend his position, as any rider would do, and we believe him 100%.
We respect the decision of Race Direction and don’t want to pass judgement if the penalty they administered was right or wrong. However, we do believe there was enough evidence to allow them to take a decision during the race, it was not necessary to wait until the end.
Marquez says he has never experienced anything like his recent troubles with Rossi.
During my career I have had many battles, but I never have I felt this. On that corner Valentino passed me, but then I saw he was completely straight and looking at me and stopping a lot. I was just waiting because there was nothing to do at that point and then I saw with his leg he pushed my arm and my front brake, and then I locked the front wheel and crashed.
In response to the accusation of deliberately interfering in the title battle in recent races:
You know I don’t want to be involved more in the championship. Valentino surprised everybody [with his comments], but I didn’t consider that because I just did my weekend [at Phillip Island]. Of course we can fight, we can overtake, we can have small contact, but in [Malaysia] until that moment we never had contact. I don’t know how inside the helmet you can think to push out another rider with your leg. I’ve never seen that. OK, I am very young, but I am disappointed.
Yamaha issues a statement refuting claims made by Honda that Rossi kicked Marquez.
Yamaha would like to express its disagreement with the words that have been used to report on the incident between riders Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez. Both press releases included words that accuse Valentino Rossi of kicking Marc Marquez‘s bike that is something not proven by the investigation of the Race Direction.We therefore reject the wording used in the said published statements that do not correspond with the findings of the Race Direction. Yamaha has no wish to enter into further discussion regarding this unfortunate affair and our desire is to conclude the 2015 MotoGP season in the best possible way. We go to Valencia with the clear intention of trying our best to win what we hope will be a memorable final race with all riders and teams competing in an exemplary sportsmanlike manner befitting the top category of motorcycle racing.
Marquez says he regrets going wide at Sepang, but that it’s time to move on.
Unfortunately I don’t have any other choice. I just regret going wide and not to follow my normal line. Except for that, it’s better that we speak about this weekend…It’s been a difficult week after what happened in Sepang but I’ve tried my best to put it behind me and concentrate on my training and looking forward to the final race of the season. We want to finish on a high note so we will work hard from Friday to get the bike setup well and give ourselves the best chance for the race. I’ve had mixed results here in the past but I enjoy racing here in front of the home fans. I hope the events of the past week can be put behind us and we can focus on the race.
Marquez has the fastest time in FP1, and is fifth in FP2, leaving him second overall. The Honda team is experimenting with a variety of tyres and different settings. He says the Hondas are especially hard on the front tyre, but that he is feeling confident on used tyres when running the hardest option.
I’m happy because I went out on track and got back to enjoying myself riding; it was important and something I was really looking forward to doing. It’s been a positive day because we did a good job with the setup of the bike. In the second session we worked hard with Sunday’s race in mind, riding with used tyres and also testing the hardest compound. We are pretty clear about how we can continue to improve tomorrow, because the track temperature increased a lot and if it stays like this, we will have to concentrate on the durability of the tyres.
After final free practice, Marquez will be second on the grid at Valencia, after Lorenzo. Rossi will start at the back of the grid. Asked about whether he would challenge Lorenzo in the final lap:
It will be interesting to arrive in the final lap like this. But if I see the space and it’s clear, I will try [to pass], because in the end the best way to finish the season is with a victory. Like in Australia, if there is a lot of risk, we will see. If it’s a closing gap or a small space, I will try.
However, Marquez says Honda is currently struggling for long-run pace compared to Lorenzo, as high temperatures are causing problems with tyre overheating.
Nobody expected this temperature. We are struggling there. We’ve tried to change the balance of the bike to avoid these problems, but when you avoid a problem, another one is coming. We’ve tried to manage well but they say tomorrow will be a little bit colder and maybe that will help us.
Marquez finishes second in the Valencia GP, behind Jorge Lorenzo, who takes the World Championship title. Dani Pedrosa is third. Valentino Rossi, who had started from the back of the grid, takes fourth place.
Rossi says he was denied his win by a Spanish ‘stitch-up’’. Rossi say Lorenzo is a deserving champion but he could not understand why Honda should want to see a Yamaha rider win. He accuses Márquez of being a ‘biscottone’ – an expression used in football when two teams play out a mutually beneficial draw to the detriment of another – but said he expected no less.
I did what I could but it was a strange situation having Márquez as the bodyguard of Lorenzo. It is embarrassing for the sport. Hopefully the sport’s authorities will be able to sort it out. It is an ugly end to what has been an attractive championship. It has not been a true championship and this should not happen in sport.
Márquez responds that it is ‘a lack of respect’ to suggest he had not tried to win:
I always give everything and I know there will be people that will say that I have been second because I wanted Lorenzo to win.
Lorenzo, however, says that the Spaniards may have helped each other:
The fact that they knew what I was going for and that they are Spanish has helped me and in another race they may have tried everything to overtake. Dani did well because he could have tried a crazy overtake. We are Spanish and the title remains in Spain. If it had been in Italy and with two Italians behind Rossi then it would have been the same.
Marquez wins the BMW M Award for the third time in a row, and receives a BMW M6 convertible. Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner have also won the award three times. The BMW M Award is calculated based on qualifying positions. Pole position is rewarded with 25 points, second place on the grid earns 20 points and third place scores 16 points – right down to one point for 15th. The rider with the most points at the end of the season wins the Award. Marquez:
I am really happy to have won the BMW M Award for third time in a row. For us riders, this award is always something special. The BMW M6 is a great car and I like the acceleration and the handling. The fact that it is the BMW M6 Convertible makes this prize even more special. It is the first time that I won a convertible car and for me living in Spain, this is just perfect. I can’t wait to get in the car and drive it.
The BMW M Award is an important pillar of our comprehensive involvement in MotoGP and when selecting the prize it is important to us to pick a real highlight each season. I feel that we have managed this once again with the BMW M6 Convertible…We hope Marc Marquez enjoys his BMW M6 Convertible and look forward to next season and the 2016 BMW M Award.
Despite crashing twice over the two days of testing the 2016 Honda RC213V in Valencia, Marquez finishes first with a time of 1:31.367. The testing marks the official start of the 2016 season and includes technical changes such as a Spec ECU that all teams must use; Michelin taking over as the sole tyre supplier; a fuel limit of 22 litres for all and the use of seven engines for the year, plus the bikes now have to weigh a maximum of 157kg compared to 158kg in 2015. Wheel diameter has also been increased by half an inch to 17” by Michelin, to bring them more inline with road bikes.
Marquez says he is not happy with the new ECU unit.
We play with many things, work a lot and the problem with the electronics is that you make five laps and then you stay half an hour or one hour in the box trying to fix. We need time to try and understand it well. At the moment I’m not enjoying it a lot. The thing is my bike didn’t spin. It’s just moving and cutting and I think we are far from the potential of these electronics. At the moment I still didn’t understand well. I’m riding fast and pushing but I want to understand it better for the slides and all these things
According to Italian website, Corriere della Sera, Rossi has decided to end his business ties with Marquez. Beginning next year, the VR46 Store, will no longer manage Marquez’s MM93 merchandise. The Tavullian company owned by Rossi manages the merchandise of 20 riders and hails an annual turnover of 12.5 million euros. Next year, another company will be dealing with the sale of t-shirts, caps and other novelty MM93 products.
Repsol Honda team principal, Livio Suppo, comments on how Marquez should deal with the situation.
Go on holiday and relax. I think there’s nothing really we can add, especially Marc. If people believe him we are happy, if they don’t I think ‘time is a gentleman’ [an Italian phrase that can mean ‘time is a healer’ or ‘the truth will come out’]. I’m just so sad for what happened on Sunday [at Valencia] because I know that Marc really wanted to win this race. And when I saw him in parc ferme, I’ve never seen him so disappointed. Because he is a clever guy – you must be stupid to do deliberately what happened on Sunday…If you think seriously, with no pressure, you understand that it is crazy for Marc not trying to beat Jorge. Even if Marc finished in front of Jorge with Dani in third, Jorge was still world champion with the same points [as Rossi]. That would probably be even better, because this championship was deserved by both of them [Rossi and Lorenzo] and it would then have been decided only by different race wins.
He also says he has a lot of respect for Rossi.
I met Valentino coming back from Indy I think, in the lounge at the airport, and I said honestly I have more respect now than I have 10 years ago. Because what he’s done this season – it doesn’t matter if he won the championship or not – has been unbelievable; 36 years old, coming from the 500 and still able to fight with the young guns that are riding in a totally different way. And this year to beat almost all of them and lose the championship by only five points has been really unbelievable. Of course we cannot be happy with the situation that has been created by the words of Valentino, starting from the Sepang press conference. I really hope Valentino will understand that Honda and Marc are not against him. We just try to do our championship and if he thinks differently I’m very sorry, but it’s not like that.
Marquez ends the fourth day for Winter testing saying he still has to find the correct balance for Honda’s 2016 engine.
Today I ride all day with the Magneti Marelli. I didn’t try again the Honda software, I just concentrated on Magneti Marelli. I tried both engines, but I really concentrated all day with the new engine. Because I think, already, working on the new electronics is slow, takes a lot of time, and I see that with the 2015 engine, and the 2016 engine, we need a completely different map…It’s different. Last year’s engine was aggressive in the top. Now we have more power in the bottom, but still we don’t understand the way to deliver this torque. It looks like aggressive in the bottom, but then smoother in the top compared with last year, but the thing is that we can reduce, no? So we must work, because if we reduce too much, then we get aggressive in the top, so we must check to find the correct balance.
He also comments of the MIchelin front tires:
[I had] A lot [of near crashes] In the moment that you find the limit. Today it was a little bit better, because we worked with the set up, so it was better, but still a few crashes again today.
On the third and final day of testing at Jerez, Spain, Marquez, crashes twice.
Today I had two crashes. One big high-side, something in Turn 3, on Doohan corner, I go in with some gas, and never happen in MotoGP, but maybe we have to understand well this new electronics. I was with gas consistent, but in one moment I lose really aggressive the rear wheel, and then I fly! But lucky I was well. The second one was we did the comparison with both engines and everything, and Honda asked for us to be on the limit to try to compare well, and the limit on the brake point with the Michelin is dangerous. So we did a good three days, we got a lot of information, but I think that at the moment, this new engine, it has a little bit more potential compared to the old one, but still we are far I think from the best level.
On what needs to be done over the winter:
I think Michelin will work on the front tire especially, Honda must work on the mechanical side, to try to be smoother, to try to gain on the acceleration, and by electronics, we have this so we have to understand it well. But the electronics is the thing that if you don’t ride, you don’t understand, so we must work on the mechanical side, and the Michelin, sure, they will improve.
In an interview with CNN, Marquez, who is hosting a training camp for 20 young riders, says he understands Rossi’s situation:
The relationship with Valentino was really good until Thursday (before) Malaysia. I think there he created so much more of what was not natural, not good for motorcycling…The problem is that too many people start to speak about the situation. (When we arrived) in Valencia, I say ‘Please we need to win the race because if not … he will complain.’ Lorenzo did the fastest lap, the record of the circuit, the record of the total laps … I couldn’t pass him, I couldn’t win; but you know for me the target was to win the race and that was the best way to finish the season.
I already said in Valencia to Valentino, ‘My hand is here,’ and I want the best for motorcycling, and I think the best thing is to be in a good relationship with him. [But] at that moment (in Valencia) he had just lost the championship, and he was really worn. I understand the situation, so I don’t want to think a lot about what he said, but I hope that 2016 will be a new season, a new relationship and (we) try to forget all these things.
FIM and Honda Racing say that data from the Rossi/Marquez clash at Sepang will not be released. The data relates to claims by Honda that Rossi kicked Marquez, causing the Spaniard to fall. FIM President Ippolito:
In MotoGP, the dispute was brought before the CAS and the case is now closed. It is true that at the end of the season the polemics around the Rossi-Marquez case swelled to unprecedented levels. For that reason, we asked all the people involved, including the teams, to refrain from engaging in controversy about what happened in Sepang.During the last competition in Valencia, team Honda informed us that they had all the telemetry relating to the incident. Now the data are in our hands, and Honda and the FIM have decided together not to release them so as not to fuel further polemics.
The company in charge of image rights for Marc and Alex Marquez confirms their merchandise will no longer be produced and distributed by Rossi’s VR46 Racing Apparel company. The Marquez brothers are tipped to move their merchandising to Gruppo Pritelli.
AC Management, company in charge of managing the image rights of the riders Marc Márquez and Alex Márquez, informs that they have agreed with the Company VR46 Racing Apparel, S.r.l. to terminate the license agreements previously in force and under which the latter was in charge of the exploitation of both riders’ merchandising. Both parties appreciate services rendered while the agreement was in force and wish each other success in future endeavors.
Repsol releases a video to celebrate Marquez’s 23rd birthday
Marquez releases a video showing him undergoing a health checkup.
Repsol releases a video where Márquez and Pedrosa appear with Malikian.
The sum of talents makes us greater.
After coming tenth in testing at in Qatar, Marquez says he lost confidence as he struggled to adapt to the Losail circuit’s characteristics.
I already said in Phillip Island that here was really good but now we go to Qatar, a track that we are normally struggling. Definitely we struggle, today quite a lot. We are trying to work on some aspects of the bike to improve. The positive thing is that still two days remain. Also, we are in the circuit where we struggled most during the season. We must look forward and try to improve these areas. The main problem is mid-corner turning and exit…in Malaysia we were struggling with the electronics but there you can use our potential that is the braking point. You can brake late. Here you can’t because all the corners are quite big and you must float on the bike on the track. We are trying to improve this area.
Marquez comes ninth in the second day of Qatar training. On his first run, he improves on the previous day’s time by nearly half a second before crashing without consequences at Turn 1. He re-joins the action and tries various chassis settings on his RC213V. With approximately one hour remaining, he tires a new aerodynamic solution, using a new fairing with winglets. He runs 42 laps with a quickest time of 1’56.046 (Lap 4), 0.610s off the pace of Maverick Viñales.
We have improved the feeling when cornering – the bike turns in a little more – and that has allowed us to lower our times slightly, but we still have some problems exiting corners. The pace we have is good although we are still finding it difficult to get rear grip…In the last run we tested some small winglets and we will have to analyse them well, because we only used them for one four-lap stint, so there will be further research and development. It is only the first prototype.
On the third and final day of Qatar testing Marquez falls at the final corner, but is not injured and returns to the test after a short delay. He then Marquez performs a 14 lap run with a solid pace in the mid to low 1’56s with four 1’55 laps. On his 52nd and final lap of the day he achieves 1’55.402, coming fourth overall and 0.592s behind Jorge Lorenzo’s best time.
Honestly, I’m very happy today, because we have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. I went back to having a good feeling on the bike, and even though I crashed I know why it happened. We have improved a lot and I want to thank my team for the great work they have done, because they are working very hard; yesterday they finished at 3am, and they were back here at the circuit for 10am today…Yesterday I was worried about our level, because I had no pace or confidence, and today we have taken a big step forward, so I’m happy with the final result of the last preseason test. We have found out a lot of things that have allowed me to ride at a fairly good level.
Marquez talks about his preparation for the 2016 season with Redbull.com.
I try to give 100 percent in every season, but this season comes with bigger challenges, especially because we didn’t nail the championship in 2015. I have to work harder…At the tests in Malaysia and Australia [in February] I focused on my physical condition and tried to adjust and understand the new bike’s electronics, and find the balance in the set-up of the bike…I know this season will be difficult, but of course the first race is very exciting. It’s always different, and here in Qatar, it’s very special…I’d say Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa are my main opponents this year, but you never know who else could surprise you.
His favorite quote:
No pain, no gain!
In an interview with Motosprint, Rossi says he had no choice but to speak out against Marquez after Sepang 2015.
I have thought long and hard on what had happened. I also thought that perhaps it would have been better not to do it, but I had to, because I had realised that I was screwed. It would have been already difficult to beat Lorenzo in a normal situation, but when Marquez went against me, I realised I got screwed. With that press conference, more than trying to intimidate Marquez, I tried to call for the attention of race direction, in order to sort out this thing. We had tried to talk to race direction, but they didn’t listen to us, so I tried this other way. I think they underestimated the problem, because what happened is something no one had expected: I didn’t, and neither did they, so when we told them, they looked at us wondering ‘what’s behind this?’ It could have been avoided by talking together in Malaysia.
While he expects to maintain a working relationship with Lorenzo, Rossi still wonders about Marquez’s tactics.
It was completely clear what his intentions were, with the Valencia race [when Marquez finished second to Lorenzo] being the cherry on top. Anyway… it is not very important, in the sense that our relationship, after what had happened, can never be restored. We’ll have to be only rivals, but I would like us to be able to focus on that, more than on nonsense such as ‘let’s shake hands, let’s not. I prefer doing real things, that’s the way.
In an interview with Gazzetta World, Rossi talks more about hsi relationship with Marquez.
After what happened we can no longer have a relationship. However, we must be opponents on the track, for some years I hope, and we have to respect each other. That is important…More than anything I allowed myself to be tricked by Marquez. He really betrayed me. He said he was a fan but those were all lies. I almost believed him and I was ready to have a rivalry with him, giving 100 percent on the track, but those were all lies on his end. At Assen I realised he was only my friend when he beats me.
Referencing an act of on-track revenge by Ayrton Senna in F1:
When Senna raced I didn’t like him. I cheered for Nigel Mansell, and when he joined Ferrari, I cheered for Prost. But I really liked what Senna did at Suzuka in 1990 [when Senna deliberately took both himself and title rival Prost out at Turn 1]. He was ‘worked over’ the year before and then he did what he had to. He showed some balls.
Marquez says that the progres of Ducati and Suzuki will have an effect on the upcoming season.
Last year, two years ago, when maybe on Sunday you didn’t feel well, you didn’t have the correct set-up, you finished fourth or fifth. This year it will be different. This year, you must be ready because if not you could finish eighth, ninth, 10th, because you have many riders. We anyway have Ducati riders, Suzuki riders that did a big step and it will be really nice, I think, especially the first race.
Marquez says that despite his difficult test season, he is confident going into Qatar.
The season is finally about to start, and I’m looking forward to it. When we came here two weeks ago we did a big step forward with the set-up at the very end of the test, and I really felt at ease with the bike, especially in my last run that was quite late in the evening with the dew already starting to form. That’s positive in view of the race, even if we’re not yet where we’d like to be and still have a margin for improvement with the set-up. The Losail layout may not be the most favourable of the season for our bike, but in the past we’ve scored a podium and a win here with the RC213V, so we’ll fight to get the best result on Sunday. This year there are a few variables that aren’t yet completely predictable, such as tyre wear at race distance, for example, and the bike’s behaviour with the new electronics. Still, Honda never cease to work hard, as is the case for me and the whole team, so I’m positive and look forward to the action starting.
Rossi, Marquez, and Pedrosa appear at a pre-Qatar press conference. In his first appearance with Marquez since last year, Rossi brushes off comparisons to other racing rivalries.
I’m happy to hear my name close to Agostini/Hailwood and Senna/Prost – it is something extra for motorsport, but I think nothing particularly special will happen and on track I think everything will be the same. Everybody will try to give the maximum to try to be in front without something more ‘special’…Personally speaking, the finish can be different and better and I prefer to win than lose. But it is like this and it is past and the good thing is that we are here and we will try to have another good fight in this season.
Marquez does not address the situation with Rossi directly.
We saw in the past in MotoGP, you always try to beat your opponent, but in the end I have 20 opponents and I must fight against each one for try to win the championship and that is my target. This year will be an interesting season because everything looks closer.
I think it was a big moment for MotoGP, maybe not like everybody thinks, but there was a lot of fans and the track was super crowded. They had to put up extra grandstands and sell extra tickets, this was a positive thing and the result affects part of the show but overall we can say that MotoGP is trying to grow and that is what we look for, to put on a good show.
Over 15 laps Marquez sets a best time of 1’56.258, ending the session in eighth place and 0.818s back from Jorge Lorenzo.
Today the 2016 season started for real. It was not the easiest FP1 I’ve ridden in, but we tried to improve gradually. The feeling was not very good, but we worked hard and we tried a lot of things out, so now we have to see what has changed between the test and today. We know that in Qatar the track conditions change a lot, so we will try to continue to evolve and get close to the top riders.
After having problems with his Honda’s electronics, Marquez achieves second place in Qatar qualifying, behind Jorge Lorenzo. Marquez is actually faster than Lorenzo, but started his 1m54.2s lap one second after the chequered flag is shown.
If you said to me this two weeks ago, I would say you are crazy. Still we are not 100 per cent everything on all tyres, but we are working well and we have made a step. The feeling is coming back, which is important, and tomorrow for the race I think we can improve our level. I feel ready to fight for the podium and even if it is possible for the victory…Still we are losing on the acceleration, so for that reason I have to push a lot on the brake points. I know that maybe it’s not the safest way to ride the bike, but I must ride like this if I want to stay on the level of Jorge, [Maverick] Vinales, Valentino [Rossi] and the Ducati riders.
Marquez takes 3rd place in the Qatar MotoGP at Losail Circuit, trailing Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso. Valentino Rossi comes 4th.
Marquez says he is happy with his third place result in Qatar. He gained a second over testing.
I’m happy with this third place because I know that we gave our all and just two weeks ago we were one second off the pace compared to the other guys on the podium…The race was faster than we expected and we had a great weekend because we got 100% out of performance at a circuit that we find hard…I spent much of the race behind Dovizioso because I couldn’t pass him and it was difficult to make up the ground lost with his better acceleration on the straight. Whenever I got close I’d lose him again! Although I knew it would be difficult, I made another attempt with four laps remaining but he overtook me on the last lap. I tried again in the last corner but it wasn’t possible. I hope that the circuits coming up on the calendar favour us a little more.
Marquez passes on his best wishes to two-time F1 world champion and fellow Spaniard Fernando Alonso who walked away unhurt from a huge smash after running into the rear of Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas car.
I want to make sure I send a message of encouragement to Fernando Alonso given the accident he had at the Formula 1 Australian GP. I’m glad it was nothing major. I’m sending him a huge hug, and I’m sure that this year’s season will go much better.
Marquez says he is positive for the Argentinian GP.
We come to Argentina in a positive mood after achieving a third-place finish in Qatar, a result that wasn’t really predictable before the start of the season. We worked very hard and very well with Honda and with the team over the weekend, and on race day I was able to push as hard as is currently possible. Of course we haven’t had a winter test here to count on and we’ll have to see if the setup we found in Qatar will also work here. That would be a good step forward for us, generally speaking, and we could even aim for a little bit better result on Sunday. Of course it will be a question mark until Friday but all in all, Argentina is a circuit that I like. We’ve always been fast here, so I feel positive for the weekend.
After Lorenzo and Marquez were booed on the podium at Qatar, Marquez says he is prepared to encounter more negativity.
It’s something that, for example, in soccer I heard and I don’t like. So I don’t like it in MotoGP, also if it’s against me. But in the end it’s something that, I’m not stupid, I know that it will be usual. We must adapt and for me the most important thing, is it doesn’t matter the [supporter merchandise] colour of the fans – if it’s yellow, black, red – I think everybody enjoyed the race in Qatar.
Lorenzo says he is confused by the reaction:
We didn’t do anything wrong during the last months. We just concentrated on going very fast. I won the championship, Marc tried to do [his best] in 2015 and he is starting this season also like me – to try to be professional and to try to be the best on the track.We are risking our life in the process. So I don’t know what we did wrong, just be very fast and beat some riders.
Boo? I don’t know. I don’t know.
Marquez is fastest in Friday Practice a the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit in Argentina.
Today was a bit of a strange day, but the feeling was good in the end and we finished first on the timesheets. I think that the conditions will change a lot during the weekend, even from the first to the second session we saw the surface improve, although not as much as we had expected. So far track conditions are worse than last season so it seems that the times will be a long way off those from last year, but it will be the same for everyone and we are trying to manage it in the best way possible and adapt the bike as best we can.
After qualifying, Marquez takes pole position, with a time of 1h39.411. He is unable to improve on his fastest lap time due to a late crash at Turn 1, a heavy fall resulting in no serious injuries. Due to a failure on Scott Redding’s tire, Michelin has decided to withdraw both rear tyres on safety grounds, and introduce the extra “special” rear compound brought for such an occasion. Each rider will have four of these rear tyres for Sunday.
I’m happy with how the bike is going and with the pace we have. We know what my crashes today were due to; the first was down to changing the setup but the second was because we pushed too hard. That is what happens in the qualifying session. Tomorrow we’ll give everything we have in the race…After this decision from Michelin, I think that tomorrow will be a bit of an unknown because everyone will have a different tyre spec from what we’ve used for the whole weekend. We’ll wait and see how it works. We’ll have two warm-up sessions, one of 30 minutes and the other 20, to gather information, and we’ll have to see if everything goes well. Let’s hope there won’t be too many differences from the tyres we’ve been using so far.
Marquez wins the Argentinian GP. Marquez came under pressure from Rossi in the first half of the 20-lap race, but after the pit stop Rossi fell seven seconds behind Marquez. Rossi was then overtaken by Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone of Ducati. However, on the final lap, the Ducati riders crashed, leaving Rossi in second.
Marquez says he is looking forward to the Austin GP. He won his first MotoGP race there in 2013, at age 20 the youngest ever rider to win a MotoGP, and has since won three straight victories all from pole position.
It’s a track that I like, where I feel strong, and where I’ve always had good races and good fun. The track rewards strong acceleration, which hasn’t been one of our strongest points so far this year, so we’ll have to wait and see how we can manage the situation. We’ll keep working hard, as we did in Argentina, and we’ll try to find the best pace for the Sunday race.
Marquez answers questions from Lanesplitter readers. His favorite track:
MM: Austin is actually one of them, but I also love Phillip Island and Aragon. I like the left turns, because I grew up riding flat track, and they all have many different types of sections and corners. Lots of elevation changes.
LS: Are you a fan of the many rider aids like wheelie control, traction control etc? Or would you rather it be all down to the rider?
MM: The bikes we ride are developed for them. So you have to use them, if you were to take them out you’d have to redesign the bikes. But the aides are for safety. If you tried to use them to make you fast, you would not.
LS: Would you like to run the Isle of Man TT one day?
MM: Yes, but only for fun, not for race.
Rossi says he no longer buys his rival’s claims of weakness.
I always considered he was very dangerous. The Honda seems very good to me. According to me, when he talks about difficulties [with the bike], Marquez plays a bit of tactics, he feathers his own nest, but he knows very well that this is a very strong bike…It’s true also that he looks much faster than [Dani] Pedrosa, especially here [in Austin]. This means he’s comfortable and he will be hard to beat.
Marquez claims his 60th pole of his career and takes the pole position in the Americas GP for the fourth year in a row. His time of 2’03.188, is 0.069s faster than Jorge Lorenzo. Valentino Rossi places third.
Marquez wins the Americas GP, at the Circuit of The Americas course in Austin, Texas. It is his fourth win in a row. Marquez leads from the front throughout the race. Jorge Lorenzo is second. Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso all crash out of the race.
I’m really happy. I feel really great on this circuit.