Japan GP: Champion Marquez wants to keep the momentum going

With the 2019 Moto GP Drivers' championship already in the bag, Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez feels he took the practice sessions in Japan a little easy.

2019 MotoGP World Champion nd Repsol Honda driver Marc Marquez at the Japan GP free practice.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

With four rounds to go and the title already in his bag, team Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez probably took things a `little easy’ during the free practice sessions in the Motul Grand Prix of Japan at the Motegi Twin Circuit here on Friday.

Even as Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo set up the pace, Spanish star Marquez managed to finish fourth in FP1 with a timing of 1:46.035. However, he quickly climbed his way up to the third position in FP2 clocking 1:45.100. It was still not his best given the commanding show this season.

Is Marcus still in the party mood? “Not really. The attention and the way to approach a weekend is the same. But, I must say that we struggled a little bit today. We started with a normal pace but the feeling was not the best one. We tried to adapt the set-up of the machine to the circuit and it was a great job,” said Marcus.

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The 26-year-old said he stopped four times in the box during the practice. “It is not normal for me because I try to work hard every race. But there was some confusion with the set-up. We will try to analyse all these things for tomorrow but, despite that, I would still say that the pace was not bad. It is just that I need to work in a different way the next two days,” he added.

The six-time Moto GP champion expects to finish on the podium during the weekend. “I am clear with my mind and I always go out there and try to finish on the podium in all the races. And, that’s my first target here.

"It is not easy as well to win the last four races because in some circuits the Yamaha will be very fast and in some the Ducati. But we need to focus and try to keep the momentum going. If we cannot win I will try and finish close to victory.”

Talking about the championships so far, he said 2014 was great but the current season is the best in terms of consistency. “I was strong every weekend, consistent and focussed. In 2014, it was great because I was the fastest and won many races but in terms of championship, this is the best,” he said.

The qualifying races are scheduled for Saturday followed by the main race the next day.