Relieved of the pressure of winning consecutive MotoGP world championships, Marc Marquez is targeting race wins over the final three races of the season. The Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island is first on the list with Marquez aiming to end his current three-race losing streak, the longest since he came to MotoGP in 2013.
After securing his second premier-class title at the Japanese GP, Marquez admitted to feeling the strain when his championship momentum was slowed with mistakes in the Misano and Aragon races.
Now the plan is to add to his 11 wins from 15 races so far this season with Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia to complete the season. With two more victories, he would beat Mick Doohan’s current record of 12 wins in season.
“I will go for wins in the final races,” Marquez said.
“In Phillip Island, I know that Lorenzo and Yamaha are really strong and then we go to Malaysia and Valencia and I will try for the victory in all those races.”
A Phillip Island victory would also erase the embarrassment of the infamous “Blunder Down under” episode last year when Marquez and his team miscounted the laps for a compulsory tire change and were disqualified.
“Phillip Island was a bit of a nightmare for me last year so I have a score to settle,” he said.
With a massive points lead built with 10 consecutive wins, the title was never in doubt, just an increasing urgency to win it and redeem his mistakes.
That came with a conservative but intelligent race plan in Motegi where Marquez ignored his natural, high-risk instincts to chase down race-leader Jorge Lorenzo.
Instead, he used the still fast veteran Valentino Rossi as his reference to clinch the title with second place after a nervous start to the race.
“It was difficult because it was the first chance to win the title and especially after the mistakes Misano and Aragon I knew that another mistake would not be the end of the world but not so good for my confidence,” Marquez said.
“I wasn’t riding like normal and in the first corner I was too scared and many riders passed me because I braked too early.
“But I think it is normal, I am human and I felt the pressure and I was really stiff and it was difficult to ride the bike in the beginning.
“But then as I understood the race I rode as if Valentino (then second) was leading and I just forgot Jorge and focussed on Valentino and make sure of winning the championship.
“I knew Lorenzo was strong at Motegi and maybe in another situation I would have pushed more at the start of the race but that wasn’t my mentality in this race.”
On the day of his Motegi triumph, Marquez was just 21 years and 237 days old, becoming the youngest ever back-to-back MotoGP champion and erasing another of Mike Hailwood’s records in the process