Marc Marquez moved a step closer to an historic first MotoGP world title after he took a safe second behind factory Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa in Sepang yesterday (Sunday).
The 20-year-old’s 14th podium put him a commanding 43-points clear of closest rival Jorge Lorenzo and if he scores eight points more than the factory Yamaha rider at Phillip Island this weekend then he will become the youngest MotoGP world champion in history.
Marquez got the better of Lorenzo in Malaysia after a terrific early fight but abandoned a pursuit of Pedrosa to extend his title advantage with 20 precious points.
He now stands on the brink of becoming the first rookie to win the MotoGP title since Kenny Roberts in 1978, but he said he would try and put thoughts of the championship to the back of his mind in Australia.
“There are still three races to go. I need to keep the same mentality because things are going so well. Phillip Island is another race, it is not the end of the world if I don't win it there but for sure it is important to take points for the championship, “said the reigning Moto2 world champion.
Marquez’s fantastic fight with Lorenzo was the battle of a somewhat strung out 20-lap race, but the dice had given Pedrosa the perfect opportunity to stretch out a lead that he never looked like relinquishing.
Marquez said: "It was a nice battle with Jorge. I enjoyed it a lot but at the same time Dani had opened a gap in the opening laps and then when I finally overtook Jorge I saw it was too risky to try and catch Dani. The target for this weekend was to finish in front Jorge and I did this and got four points in the championship, which is the most important."
Asked if he thought he could have won had he got by Lorenzo earlier to pressurise Pedrosa he added: “It is difficult to say but after I passed Jorge I tried to catch Dani for three or four laps but the gap was too much and it was too risky. If I tried maybe I could have arrived to Dani, but also I could crash, so I preferred to take 20 points. I thought about the world championship and this was best decision."