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MotoGP

Marquez’s take on three qualifying crashes and point-less race

by Valentin Khorounzhiy, Simon Patterson
3 min read

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Honda MotoGP rider Marc Marquez admits he chose just to “finish the race” in the Sachsenring sprint having realised his risk/reward “balance” had been wrong when he crashed three times in qualifying.

Marquez was seventh on the grid in Germany despite a qualifying session full of falls, sprints back to the pits and hasty repairs to damaged bikes, then was up to fifth after the start of the 15-lap sprint.

However, his race gradually fell apart from there, the six-time champion picking up an early track limits warning, making an error at Turn 1 and eventually resigning himself to an inglorious 11th-place finish – just fighting off Fabio Di Giannantonio on the final lap.

Marc Marquez Honda MotoGP German GP

It marked the first time since 2009 that Marquez hadn’t won a race he’d entered at the Sachsenring, and makes it seem almost an inevitability that his perfect streak of German Grand Prix wins will end on Sunday.

Asked by The Race whether he’d just decided to get to the chequered flag in the sprint after the qualifying crashfest, Marquez acknowledged: “Yeah. Basically yes.

“It’s true that today I got up and [was feeling], you know, we’re at the Sachsenring, and my energy is positive. I got up and said ‘OK, I will do it, yesterday we struggled but today I will do it’.

Marc Marquez Honda MotoGP German GP

“But then [early on in qualifying] on wet conditions, as normal, we are fast and I was there but then as soon as [it was] the dry track, we are struggling a lot. On that warm situation of the qualifying practice and everything, I was pushing and crashing and coming back on the box and pushing again, and I was there.

“But then when I was sitting in my office, between qualifying practice and the sprint race, [I understood] the balance was not enough. All that risk, for seventh position was not enough [of a reward] for me.

Marc Marquez Honda MotoGP German GP

“And I went out into the race optimistic, like you saw on the first lap I attacked. But already on the first lap, attacking – one warning on Turn 11, then one warning on Turn 1, then in that case you close a bit [the throttle] and you finish the race.”

Marquez said his side of the garage had also gambled with a set-up change coming into the race that made the bike “a disaster everywhere” and that changing back should at least make for a better Sunday.

But he also conceded that that the three crashes in qualifying were “too much”.

“It’s a lot. But at least I’m there. I’m close to the top guys. But the way to be close to the top guys is the way of taking too much risk, and then the consequence is crashing. Too much.

“Then yeah, I analysed the situation and I said ‘OK, here we can’t’. But it [the crashing] is not a consequence of trying to be there [at the top] – for example, I remember, I was sitting on my sofa at Jerez and [team-mate Joan] Mir crashed four times, fighting for 15th position.

“So it’s not a matter of wanting to be there. It’s a matter of: try to push but we can’t.

Marc Marquez Honda MotoGP German GP

“It’s important to see the real situation.

“When you are fighting for eighth, ninth, sixth positive, it’s easy to roll off. But when you are fighting for the podium, like in the Le Mans race, like in the Mugello race, then it’s more difficult for a rider to roll off, because you see it’s there. But we are not ready to be there.”

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