Photography by Gold & Goose
Marc Marquez took time out from his busy testing schedule Tuesday to field questions in a teleconference with American media, moderated by Paul Kelly of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Marquez was modest in victory and showed tremendous respect for Dorna officials, in spite of what many felt were overreaches in assessing penalty to Marquez for his run-in with Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa at Aragon. Marquez also admitted to being caught off guard by being a championship contender and eventual champion in his rookie campaign in MotoGP.
In MotoGP’s world of rapid development, Marquez said there were areas he hoped Honda could improve its machine in the future and he also talked about how he would like to grow as a rider as well.
In short Marquez seems friendly, grateful for his position and perfectly grounded, saying the people around him are specifically instructed to let him know if he starts to show any signs of becoming a prima donna.
Marquez had goals of what he might accomplish in his rookie season and was admittedly surprised when he was immediately a title contender.
“No, of course I didn't expect that,” he said of becoming the top contender early in the season. “No, the plan, yeah, my goal was to try to win not only in Qatar, but also always I have the mentality to try to fight for some podiums, for some victories. But I didn't expect to be constant there in the top and fight for the championship and get it in the end. It was a great surprise because I expect that in the federation tried a little bit more and tried to be strong in this competitive season. But from the beginning, I set records with the bike, and that was the most important”
There used to be a rule in place that rookie riders could not race for a factory team, but that rule was scraped as Marquez climbed the ranks with the Repsol squad. He refused to speculate on how he would have fared on a satellite team.
“This is difficult to say because you don't know. I didn't test that bike, and I don't know how what is the level. But what I hear about the level of the [Stefan] Bradl’s bikes were the same as the other ones like [Alvaro] Bautista’s. It's true that the new improvements arrived a little bit later, but of course to be here on the Honda factory team helped me quite a lot.”
Even though Honda’s RC213V was the superior motorcycle in the championship Marquez thinks there’s still room for improvement.
“Yeah, sure, sure. We can improve many, many things, especially mid-corner then also edge grip in the mid-corner, too, we can improve. Exiting the corner also is traction we can improve, the stability too a little bit. But, yeah, the package was quite good, and I feel good on the bike.”
Marquez admitted that it was just a little past the halfway point in the season when it hit him that he might become champion.
“Maybe I start to realize a little bit after Brno when I had to realize. Also then Silverstone, even I had the injury, but I started to realize in that race because Dani was a hundred percent, and I was able to fight with them and to win that race.”
Marquez thinks the same players in the championship will be the ones to watch next season, along with the addition of Pol Espargaro who signed with Tech3 Yamaha for MotoGP in 2014. He also thinks his younger brother Alex could be a factor in the future.
“Yeah, 2014 will be changed a little bit because they're going to change the rules and that will be important to adapt the bike to those rules. But, anyway, I think Jorge will be strong. Dani will be strong. We will see also [Pol] Espargaro, I think he can do a good job. We'll see if he can stay there every race. But, yeah, it's coming there. The young talents and from Moto3 especially, and yeah, I think my brother next year. Maybe he will have the first chance to fight for a championship. But, of course, he needs more experience, but anyway, he's doing a very good job.”
Marquez said he didn’t expect to change too much next year his strategy of finding his bike’s limits, even if it did put him on the ground more than he would have liked.
“Yeah, sure, I will have more experience in the category, and I will try to have less crashes too. But it's like what I say, if I want to find the limit, I need to find it in practice because then in the race try to know where is the limit. But, anyway, yeah, I will try to improve. In the past, I've tried to be a little bit not as smoother because in the end, it's my style. But a little more constant on the lines and with the experience of this year trying to use it and trying to have less pressure.”
On talking about his penalty at Aragon Marquez was considered in his answer.
“Yeah, for sure, I'm most disappointed about that actions because it was so unlucky for Jorge. But I think it was a race incident. But, anyway, of course I was completely disagree with that point of penalty because it was not meant. But anyway, we are here, we have the Race Direction, and we must respect the decision of them.”
Some sports figures in the past have found it difficult to deal with the acclaim, adulation and money and demands on their time coming at such a young age. Marquez feels he can avoid the potential pitfalls because of the people around him.
“Yeah, you know, that, of course is difficult, but you know, I try to be the same guy, the same Marc. I have all my people, my family, my team. I already said to them, if I change a little bit, if I start changing a little bit they can hit me or say, 'Hey, Marc, you are not in the correct way.' And that is good that the people around you also have that confidence to say to you that you need to be with the foot on the ground.”