MotoGP: Marquez closes championship gap with second in Jerez

Despite putting his teammate under immense pressure, Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez had to settle for second at the Gran Premio Red Bull de Espana.

Second best to Pedrosa

Throughout the weekend Marquez had to settle for being second best to Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) who topped the opening Free Practice sessions, and then beat him to pole position in Qualifying. Marquez looked promising during FP4, but a late change of bikes at the end of Qualifying where he barely completed one flying lap on his second machine, wasted potential pole position lapping time.

His time of 1:38.298 secured him second on the grid; he was 0.049 seconds off the pace of Pedrosa on pole. He got a fantastic start as did Pedrosa, and began the 27 lap chase in attempt to take the win from his teammate.

Rookie, Zarco made an attack

Early on in the race, he had to fend off an attack from Monster Yamaha Tech3 rookie, double Moto2 champion, Johann Zarco. Zarco was flying on the medium compound Michelin Power Slicks on the front and rear and heading into turn 13 of lap four. Marquez managed to retaliate at the same turn of the next lap to regain second, and although the Frenchman tried to keep applying the pressure, he could not match the pace.

Finally, Marquez was able to focus his attention towards catching his teammate. In the final laps he managed to get the gap between them down to under one second, but every time Pedrosa was made aware by his pit board, he responded which meant that Marquez had more of a challenge on his hands.

Mature Marquez decides points are best

Eventually he must have made the decision to settle for second, as 20 points towards his championship, where he is now currently third with 58 points; just four behind championship leader, Valentino Rossi on the Movistar Yamaha. He finished the fourth round of the season, the first European round in Jerez, Spain, in second, over six seconds behind his race winning teammate, Pedrosa.

Pedrosa claimed to be “happy” with “second place here at Jerez” that he declared is a track that “isn’t among [his] favourites”. He found that “having been able to be competitive and fight at a high level is positive”.

High praise for teammate, Pedrosa

He spoke of how on race day “Dani was really fast” and noted that he “has been over the whole weekend in the wet and dry”. He identified that they “got closer and closer session after session” however he found it was “difficult to keep his pace”.

Marquez explained how he “tried to push to put pressure on him” however he admitted that “even before the race [he] knew that Dani is very strong here”. He also feels that Pedrosa is “very good when conditions are really warm like today”.

Hard tyre too soft for Marquez

Referring to his tyres he explained that for him the “front tyre is too soft”; he explained that although he “chose the harder option” for the race in Jerez, he finds that “even that was too soft”. So, he “tried to manage during the entire race” and he “pushed” but in the end he revealed that he “had a few risky moments”.

As a result of these he “checked where Valentino and Vinales were” and reassured himself saying, “Okay, second place is fine.” With Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha) finishing sixth and Rossi finishing 10th, he was able to close the gap right down in the championship. He was left feeling “happy with the result” and also to be “just four points off the top and to be back in the battle for the championship.”

Marquez on the championship

He analysed that the “classification is very close” and he feels that “things are going to be interesting”. To be successful he said, ”We must keep working as we’ve done so far.” He then went on to dedicate “this good result” to his mother as race day in Jerez was Mother’s Day; in a way it’s a shame he couldn’t make it two wins as his younger brother Alex won the Moto2 round for their mum.