Malaysia Grand Prix: Grid penalty gave Marc Marquez extra motivation

Having to start from seventh gave Marc Marquez added motivation to claim victory in Sepang.

Ecstatic: Marc Marquez celebrates on the podium after winning the Malaysia GP.   -  AFP

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.”

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos