until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


‘Impossible, whoosh, f**k!’ – Mugello MotoGP’s odd near-miss

by Valentin Khorounzhiy, Simon Patterson
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Gresini Ducati MotoGP rider Alex Marquez has given his view of his scary Italian Grand Prix near-miss with brother Marc and Luca Marini.

It came on lap three of the Mugello race on Sunday, as Marquez – running sixth – struggled to get his bike stopped for the San Donato corner, at the end of Mugello’s famously long straight, in the slipstream of three rival bikes right up ahead.

In what could’ve easily been a multi-bike pile-up, he managed to thread the needle between his brother’s Honda and Marini’s Ducati and then committed to the inside line, running out wide and having relatively minor contact with KTM’s Jack Miller, who he’d briefly ‘overtaken’ alongside the other two, as he sought to rejoin the racing line.

But the gap between the Honda and the Ducati hadn’t existed just moments before Marquez went through it.

“It was really really strange,” Marquez said.

“I braked really early, I would say, and then Luca and Marc did a really strange movement in that point.”

The movement Marquez references appears to be Marini shifting slightly to the right in the braking zone to pull out of Miller’s wake, and then Marquez going even further right, after all four involved had effectively entered the braking zone line astern.

“It’s what we say always, the slipstream absorbs you directly. I was braking every time with the same pressure, but the bike was going,” Alex Marquez continued.

“So in that point I said ‘what do I need to do?’. And luckily they opened [a gap] a little bit, and at that point I passed.

“It was a really strange action, honestly.”

The loss of braking performance in the Gresini-run Ducati at that point is undoubtedly linked to its complicated aero set-up, with Marquez citing a loss of downforce as the culprit.

“The [braking] pressure, believe me, was the same always.

“But when you lose all the downforce and more with two bikes [ajead] it was like impossible – whoosh. I said ‘f**k!’. I was s**tting my pants, honestly. Honestly.”

Marquez recovered from the scare to make his way up to third place, before crashing out while under pressure from Marini through the Luco corner.

It means he has just eight points to show for the last four rounds, his turns of pace consistently unrewarded in a calamity-filled 2023 season so far.

Of the crash, which wasn’t helped by “a little bump”, he said: “It’s true that I was suffering already a little bit with the front tyre, but not on that point. So maybe… I put the speed there with too much confidence.

“I was expecting to lose the front in every point except that one. I was too confident in that point.

“Maybe today at one point I needed to say ‘OK, stop here, you make a top five and we start going [in the championship]’ but was a podium and I tried for it.”

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