Marquez talks 2017, MotoGP, crashes, rivals & hair loss!

What MM93 said to the press on Sunday

On four MotoGP titles, six in total and an entertaining season…

It has been a really, really tough season. Many ups and downs, many difficult moments, many good moments…but I would like to have here all my team, all my family, the people that helped me because they helped me a lot especially in the first part of the season that was very, very hard. I will tell you one thing: After Montmelo [Monster Energy Gran Premi de Catalunya] I was with my hairdresser and she said: “what’s going on? What’s happened?” I said: “why?” She replied: “you are losing hair.” I said, “I’m 24. It’s impossible. My grandfather, my father, all have hair!” Then I went directly to the hospital and he said I needed to change the approach to the races or something because the stress inside your body [is] too much. Then realized I’m always smiling, always happy, but inside we are humans and the tension is there. We are nervous. When you have such a good team around you, such good people, it helps a lot. When you are in a hole but you can go out and be better and better [this is the solution]…especially the second part of the season for me has been perfect. We controlled all the timings, all the moments and always on the podium, aside from Malaysia, but we were ‘there’.

On changing the approach or keeping the Marquez way…

I changed my approach, but I especially changed the feeling with the bike. We made a big change on the bike and then I had the feeling again, the correct feeling. I started to enjoy it again on the bike. After Le Mans we were in the car going to the airport with Emilio [Alzamora] and Jose [Luis Martinez] and I told them “I’m not enjoying the bike. I’m just riding because I need to ride but I’m not enjoying it”. Then we changed the mentality. We first of all needed to find a way to enjoy it on the bike, then we would find the results. So we just worked hard at the test. We did more than 100 laps every day. We found a way to enjoy it. I had many crashes [this year], hard also. I [always] said, ‘a crash is a crash but tomorrow will be better’. But it’s difficult also for a rider to understand and to forget a crash and go out again the next morning and be fast again. Anyway, I was able to do it because of the team. After a crash the team will say, we are happy, we will repair the bike and we will not be bored during the afternoon! When you have such great people everything is easier.

On 27 crashes this year…

27 and a half! Yeah, that means that it was not easy. It was not an easy title. I was pushing every practice. It was always ‘all in’ since FP1. I was going out every time and was convinced that I was able to be fast, but of course it’s something that we need to change for the future. I always try to be realistic on the way. We won. We are happy because we won, but it’s a few points that we need to improve for next year.

On Andrea Dovizioso and his season…

I already said before, I’m disappointed that he didn’t finish the race today. Was an incredible opponent. Incredible person. I have a really good relationship with him. Also, the Ducati guys. I saw on the big screen that they go to my box to congratulate the mechanics. Full respect. This is very, very nice. I learned many, many things from Andrea. I learned especially mental things. The way to approach the races, the way to approach the weekends, he showed me that you need to understand things and forget the others. This is something that not many people can do it. He is one of the best ones, or maybe the best one, to control that.

On the Le Mans change to the bike and the new direction with the Michelin tyres…

I think the new tyre was a little bit [more] helpful or be a little bit safer for all riders, because in the first part of the season if you see the first four races, five races we had many strange crashes. After Le Mans we did the Montmelo test. We changed there. We try a different chassis that was not a new chassis. It was another specification that Cal [Crutchlow] was using and the others. I was using a different one. I felt a little bit better. Step by step we tried a few different things. Step by step, I got the feeling. When we are riding at the limit at this level it’s so difficult from one day to the other to try one thing and be one second faster and be safe. I was faster but I was not 100% safe. For that reason many crashes. But for next year I want to understand why this is and I want to understand during the pre-season how to get a better feeling with the front and understand better where the limit is.

On the strategy to the championship…

Our opponents made a few mistakes and then we made a big advantage. We just tried to manage that advantage. In the summer break we were five riders in 28 points, so it was time to attack. The problem is that Dovi was so fast and so constant. If I was second, he was winning. If I was winning, he was second. Always we were there [together]. We were able to open some advantage in Brno, but then we lost it at Silverstone. But we reacted so well from that problem. We finished all the races in the podium except Silverstone.

On the most important win of 2017…

I believe that it was Germany and Brno, because one was before the summer break and the other one was after summer break. It’s important to go in the summer break in a good way, and it’s important to start [again] in a good way. Then you get a good atmosphere and good feelings; it looks like you are there fighting for the championship. In a few circuits that are not good for your riding style you are able to improve or to absorb these problems. For me was the most important.

On the many winners in 2016 and unpredictable scenes in 2017 bringing some of the best times for MotoGP…

For me, yeah. The show what we have now [is thanks to the] electronics and since Michelin arrive, one of the good things this year is that we have three front tyres, three rear tyres. Each manufacturer can choose the best one for his bike and it makes everything much more equal. I think for the fans it’s much more exciting. I like it and I love it. Honestly, in 2013 I won the championship but the races…? A bad day was fourth position. In the end, it’s a not a real championship. A real championship is like what we have today: with four or five riders fighting for the victory. If you make a small mistake, or if you have a bad day you can finish in tenth place

On his Valencia race save and whether there is any connection to his flat track or motocross training…

I don’t know. For me, more than training dirt track or motocross or supermoto this is the way to approach the practice [sessions]. During the practice, yeah, I have 27 crashes but I learn something. I crash 27 times…but I’ve been maybe close to crashing 50 times! That gives me – I don’t know how I can explain, but some feeling on the bike. With 27 crashes you can understand many things. Of course, I want to improve for the future and try to be a little bit at the same level but safer.

On the number of titles he might have in his mind…

Honestly, I don’t’ want to think about a number or about a name or about a limit. I just want to enjoy it. I’m in a dream. I want to continue in this dream, on this sweet moment. I’m 24. I’m in the world that I dreamt since I was five years old. I’m very happy, very proud. I have a very good team. Everything is really nice in my life, so I just want to keep enjoying. Of course, if at the end of the season you can celebrate the championship it is much better. But I know that I’m always touching [my feet] on the ground. We are world champions until December. January will be a new season. I hope to fight again like this.

On having a good connection with his main title rival this year…

In the end is the same. If you see with Dovi, we have a really good relationship and he’s a really good guy. Since I arrive here, the relationship is good, but when we are on the track the fight is there. In Austria, in Motegi, during the races; this is normal. We have respect for each other. We have a good relationship but when you are on the track you are fighting for what you want; everybody wants to be at the top and leading. Some riders accept [this] better. Some riders are worse. It’s different characters also. I understand that this is racing and when we are with the helmet there are no friends. Outside the track you can have friends, but inside the track is just pushing for your goal.

On Cal Crutchlow saying there was only one ‘alien’ in MotoGP now…

Of course, I appreciate Cal a lot, and thanks for this, but in the end, it’s all about situations. We are leading today and I won the championship. Of course, now I feel unbeatable, but on Tuesday we will be again on the bike. I remember in pre-season that Maverick was very, very fast so [much so] that he will be the champion. Then in the middle of the season I was maybe 35 points behind the leaders. We need to be realistic. We are in the world championship with the best riders. Like Dovi demonstrated this year, you cannot forget anybody. Everybody can win.

Photos by CormacGP