Marc Marquez believes that Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa was the faster rider in the closing stages of a memorable Catalunya MotoGP race last Sunday.
Marquez had to dig deep to claim a seventh straight win in 2014 in a tense and dramatic race that has already been labelled one of the best in the 65-year history of world championship racing.
Marquez and Pedrosa were engaged in a nail-biting last lap fight for the win, but a mistake at Turn 11 cost Pedrosa the chance to end the reigning world champion’s golden run.
Pedrosa made contact with the rear tyre of Marquez and as he ran wide, Valentino Rossi moved through to take second position.
Marquez was jubilant to keep his 100% winning record going this season, particularly as he’d not felt like the rider with the better pace in the crucial final laps.
That had been Pedrosa, who showed his best form of the season so far with a stunning challenge for his first win since the Malaysian round in Sepang last October.
Marquez said: “The faster rider in the final laps was Dani. I was pushing and maybe if he passed me he couldn't go away but he was the fastest. In the end you must manage your tools. So when he overtook me I passed him back really quick because his rhythm was really good, especially on used tyres.”
The 21-year-old said to triumph in a race where a rival had the superior pace was a special feeling and he added: “It is special when you win a race like that. It means I am in a very good way. It means you can win even if you are not the fastest. You learn more in that kind of race in the last laps.
"It is incredible because you must think a lot on the bike. Where he will overtake you? And if you can be in position to get back ahead quickly because if not he will go away. This is where you learn more."
Sunday’s breath-taking win was the third time this season that Marquez has managed to come out on top in an exciting final lap duel.
Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo failed to defeat him in Qatar and Mugello respectively, and now Pedrosa has felt the force of a merciless Marquez in a final lap scrap.
Asked why he is so bullet proof under pressure and so hard to beat on the last lap, the 2012 Moto2 world champion said: “In Mugello when I overtook Lorenzo I was not on my limit and I just pushed 100% on the last lap.
"But yesterday (Sunday), the last three laps I was pushing 100% because I saw Dani at 0.2s and then I saw +0 in the next lap. So in the final lap to make a surprise to Dani I changed completely my line to try and disturb him a little bit."