Marc Marquez said the decision to demote him to seventh on the grid gave him added motivation to battle back and win the Malaysia Grand Prix on Sunday . The newly crowned world champion was handed a six-place grid penalty after being adjudged to have impeded Andrea Iannone during qualifying.
Given it was Marquez’s second offence of the season, he was given a harsher punishment from the stewards, but it did not stop him claiming a ninth win of the season. He benefitted from Valentino Rossi’s crash, though, the Italian having set a stunning pace for the majority of the race before coming off with four laps to go.
'Extremely hard race'
“Today was an extremely hard race because I felt like I did a great job all weekend but we didn’t have the perfect bike on the race,” said Marquez.
“I was just riding by instinct, not by using the head, I was just trying to race, to push. I nearly crashed three or four times during the race. It was a very hard race because we start from seventh place, so that [gave me] extra motivation because starting from the third row I never won in the past.
“The first lap was good but not the best one of my career. I overtook some riders but then I saw that Valentino was pushing really hard from the beginning then I pushed too, it was like qualifying practice, but I overheated my tyres.
“When I just overtook Johann [Zarco] I just started to struggle a lot, looks like Valentino was really close but I started to struggle, I started to feel uncomfortable. I lost the front in last turn, I saved with [my] elbow.
“Then I say, ‘okay, cool down, try to be smart, try to understand which is the situation with the tyres’. I did it, and then step by step I started to feel better, I started to feel like still I was catching tenth by tenth Valentino and that was another extra motivation.”
'Riding on the limit'
Much to the disappoint of the fans in Sepang, a mouth-watering battle with Rossi at the front failed to materialise and Marquez was also disappointed. “The plan was to arrive [on Rossi's wheel] and try to fight,” he added. “We were both riding on the limit, it was a really fast pace. Our level was very equal. On that corner [Turn 1] he was a little bit wide, but when you are fighting like this you don’t want to lose any tenths and then he tried to come back quick but he lost the front.”
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